Former government minister, David Patterson, said Members of Parliament (MP) from his political party, Alliance for Change (AFC), will propose amendments to the Petroleum Activities Bill. The government is preparing to take the Bill to Parliament for scrutiny and debate.
The AFC is part of a coalition of parties that formed the previous administration, but the partnership dissolved in the aftermath of the 2020 elections. The main opposition, A Partnership for National Unity (APNU), had published its concerns about the Bill: Guyana Opposition says oil bill missing key learnings from recent years | OilNOW
However, Patterson explained that the AFC prefers to make its proposals in Parliament, as it is a better avenue to scrutinise and debate them. Patterson also raised a concern that the two-week consultation period given for public comments on the Bill was too short. That period came to a close on July 3.
“In our amendments, we are looking at things like ringfencing, fixed royalties, petroleum commission, auditing, local ownership, future actions, insurance coverages…” Patterson said during a press conference on Friday.
Notably, the government has faced criticism for moving forward with the Bill, in the absence of a Petroleum Commission it said it intends to establish. The Bill does not allow for a Petroleum Commission, but would vest regualtory powers in the Minister with responsibility for Petroleum. Vice President Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo said during a recent press conference that the Minister would delegate his powers to various agencies. He said the government still plans to establish a Petroleum Commission, but did not say when.
The Petroleum Activities Bill is meant to replace the outdated Petroleum (Exploration and Production) Act of 1986. The government has put its Offshore Licensing Round on hold, pending the finalisation of this law, as well as the country’s model petroleum agreements.
See the bill below:Petroleum-Act-Preliminary-Draft-updated_1