Country Manager of ExxonMobil Guyana, Rod Henson, told media representatives on Sunday evening that the company did indeed pay a US$18M signing bonus to Guyana.
Mr. Henson, speaking on the sidelines of a Public Lecture on Oil Spill Response Readiness held at Queen’s College in Guyana’s capital, Georgetown, said, “Signing bonuses are customary and normal in many petroleum agreements. Not all, but in many around the world as part of the total financial agreement.”
He said in the case of Guyana when the agreement was finalized and negotiations were completed, “we did pay a US$18M signing bonus to the Bank of Guyana, to an account that is owned by the Government of Guyana and designated by the Ministry of Finance. Not to any individual but to a government bank account.”
He said the US oil major, as a commercial entity has no role in how the money is utilized by Guyana. “No role whatsoever. We operate with the highest standard of business conduct,” he said.
The Country Manager stressed that the company is a member of EITI and when Guyana becomes a fully compliant EITI country; such payments would have to be made public.
Mr. Henson added that disclosure of terms should apply to all companies across the board.