Ram invited by gov’t to share views on Petroleum Commission Bill

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Chartered Accountant, Christopher Ram at a recent oil & gas seminar organised by the Private Sector Commission of Guyana

A number of individuals including Chartered Accountant and vocal critic in Guyana’s oil and gas sector, Christopher Ram, have been invited by Guyanese authorities to share their views on the Petroleum Commission Bill.

This was disclosed by Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman in a recent interview with OilNOW. The Bill – which was laid in Parliament last year – has received wide-spread comments, Mr. Trotman said. “Some of it I’ve accepted and I have since spoken to the President about us changing that Bill; last year I spoke to him about that.”

Once established, the Petroleum Commission of Guyana will assume a lead role in monitoring and regulating the efficient, safe, effective and environmentally responsible exploration, development and production of petroleum in the South American country. Critics have said flaws in the proposed legislation that would bring the Commission into existence include the granting of too much authority in the person of the subject minister and other clauses dealing with penalties and the financing of the Commission, which have been descried as ‘worrying’.

The Natural Resources Minister said while not all the suggestions have been worthy, those made by some individuals, such as former Speaker of the National Assembly, Ralph Ramkarran, were being looked at while other persons such as Christopher Ram, have been invited to share their views on the matter.

“I’ve even – and I can disclose it now – asked Mr. Christopher Ram to give us his views because of course he is a strident critic but I believe that his voice has a place and so I’ve asked him as well to give us a view. What we want is a nationally accepted raft of legislation so that it shouldn’t just be what the APNU-AFC feels. We may be government, yes, but at the same time there has to be national buy-in,” Mr. Trotman said.

The Commission will be tasked with promoting the policies of the government in the exploration, development and production of petroleum and will advise the Minister of Natural Resources on all key matters relating to the sector. It will make recommendations on applications for petroleum prospecting and production licences, and manage bid rounds.

Among the key responsibilities, the Commission will advise and provide information to the relevant authority for the collection of taxes and fees and participate in the measurement of petroleum for assessment of royalty and profit oil or gas.