Friday, September 29, 2023

“We don’t believe in a capricious government” – Guyana VP

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While he acknowledges that there is a paucity of technical skills, Vice President, Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo said the country cannot wait until capacity is picture-perfect to develop the massive oil and gas resources in the Stabroek Block. The high-ranking Guyanese official said the sector is moving at a phenomenal rate, and so too is the international market which plays host to a number of unpredictable vulnerabilities.

The chief policy maker for the oil sector said the government has to do what it can with its small pool of human resources, while simultaneously engaging international experts for assistance on building in-country capacity.

During his recent participation at S&P Global’s CERAWeek, the former Head of State argued also that the country cannot wait until it builds an all-perfect system for existing resources before moving to award licences for other blocks.

He said Guyana is embarking on a licencing round for 14 blocks for which draft Production Sharing Agreements (PSAs) were released on Tuesday for national input. He was keen to note that government has recruited the services of IHS Markit to help with the process. The official added that the UK firm has provided advice on the licencing round as well as the draft model agreements.   

He said too that an updated Petroleum (Exploration and Production) Act is forthcoming as it is not fit for purpose.

The Vice President said, “We want to ensure that even before the bid round is completed that the potential bidders would see what the new PSAs look like…We want to emerge as a predictable environment where our regulations dictate the highest industry standards but they don’t become a humbug to the development of the industry…we don’t believe in a capricious government…”

He stressed too that the administration wants to have a world-class regulatory environment. Hence, there are efforts to ensure technological advancements are made at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) while working with international groups such as IHS Markit.

Oil production operations at the deepwater Stabroek Block have thus far brought in over GY$720 billion in earnings. Government has so far committed to using a portion of the revenues towards infrastructural, educational and social development needs. International partners have commended this approach but continue to urge that the government stays focused on avoiding the Dutch Disease while ensuring transparency and accountability on oil spending. 

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