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We did not discuss Exxon; Guyana President says of meetings with Secretary Pompeo

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During his meeting with U.S. Secretary of State, Michael R. Pompeo, Guyana’s President, Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali, said that he did not engage in any discussion surrounding ExxonMobil. The President said that as it relates to Guyana’s oil and gas sector, the conversation surrounded opportunities for foreign investment in Guyana. 

Speaking at a joint press conference on Friday, President Ali said, “We did not discuss issues surrounding Exxon,” later adding, “Guyana is open to investment, we’re open to investors and we are open to investments and investors in a transparent manner.”

The Government has conducted a review and is in discussion ExxonMobil regarding its Payara Development, which would be the company’s 3rd offshore project in Guyana. Speaking on this matter, Ali said, “We have said even prior to the elections, that there are issues that we would have to review and as you are aware we have at the moment, a review in terms of the Payara license and we have subjected ourselves to professional guidance and at the end of that review, the Government of course will have to make an informed decision.”

Meanwhile, Secretary Pompeo said that there was much discussion on “strengthening our relationship for the benefit of all Guyanese and all Americans” and “how there might be a lot more foreign direct investment from the United States.”

According to the Secretary of State, the United States will not engage in conditional support and investment with Guyana. “The United States model is to build out on the best things of your country. We’ll show up, we’ll bring capital, we’ll bring resources, we’ll often bring technological capabilities that are much needed to develop resources, develop infrastructure to your country but we don’t do so with political strings tied to them,” he affirmed. 

“We’ll do the things we can to help American companies be successful, have access, have opportunities to be engaged in fair and transparent business dealings in Guyana,” Pompeo stressed. 

Investment 

Meanwhile, speaking on the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that was signed on improving the investment environment in Guyana, Pompeo declared, “We’re ready, the United States is ready to be your partner.”

He added: “You face big decisions going forward especially on energy and future prosperity. That’s how Americans will produce local jobs and sustainable growth for the people of your country.”

Speaking about the agreement, the Guyanese President said that it will “enhance the business environment for U.S private sector investors in Guyana, particularly in the fields of energy–both non-renewable and renewables, and infrastructure.”

The agreement, he said, will also pave the way for the U.S private sector to expand their investment portfolio and partner with the Guyanese private sector.

“These partnerships will help to meet our broad infrastructure and downstream development needs and by extension drive economic growth and development as well as job creation,” President Irfaan Ali explained.

He also noted that more opportunities will be available for firms to explore investment opportunities in tourism and the hospitality sector, among others. 

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