Guyana’s Natural Resources Ministry offers clarification on role in placement of cost recovery advert

Raphael Trotman, Minister of Natural Resources

Guyana’s Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) said on Monday that it remains the accounting agency for the Department of Energy (DoE) “only for procurement aspects and disbursement of funds” until budget 2019.

The Ministry was at the time offering clarification on its role in the recent placement of an advertisement requesting expressions of interest for consultancy services for oil and gas project evaluation (phase 1) and consultancy for a cost recovery audit in Guyana.

Following the appearance of the advertisement, a report in sections of the media called into question the Ministry’s role, particularly since the responsibility for the country’s petroleum sector has been shifted to the Department of Energy.

“The article seeks to give the idea that the Ministry is confused and questions the role that it currently plays in the oil and gas affairs, given that the portfolio has been shifted to the Department of Energy, Ministry of the Presidency. In light of this the Ministry believes an explanation is necessary,” the MNR statement said.

It must first be noted, the Ministry pointed out, that after negotiations by the Ministry of Finance, a World Bank loan for Guyana’s Oil and Gas Capacity Building Project was finalized. This loan came into being earlier this year, before the establishment of the Department of Energy.

“Additionally, since the Ministry of Natural Resources held the oil and gas portfolio at the time, it was designated as the focal point for the loan and for the Project Implementation Unit (PIU).  It was after the formation of the DoE and discussions with the quintet Ministers and Dr. Mark Bynoe, that it was decided that until budget 2019, MNR would remain as the accounting agency only for the procurement aspects and disbursement of funds,” the Ministry indicated.

For further clarification, the Ministry said it is pertinent to note that “all decisions are made by the DoE and the MNR implements them as instructed. This system functions as a bridging mechanism until the DoE becomes formally established as a budget agency in the 2019 budget which will come in a few months’ time.”