GEORGETOWN, Guyana, September 25, 2022 - A member of Guyana's Opposition Coalition, the Alliance for Change, AFC, is insisting that the government implements a more stringent oversight mechanism for the oil and gas industry, in light of the most recent announcement there was spillage of one barrel of crude oil from EXXON’s operations.
The party called on the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) government to stop playing Russian Roulette on this most important matter, and put in place full coverage liability for petroleum production, as is required by the Permits and demanded by almost all private citizens.
According to the AFC, cumulative amount of spillage since operation “has now risen to one barrel, by volume, this is an over 10,000 percent increase, [which] highlights that the possibility of a major oil spill is high, and will continue to increase directly proportional to increased oil production.”
The Opposition party noted that “It is unacceptable for the [Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) oversight] to be solely relying on the operator, for information on spillages and other hazard during oil production operations,” and urged the government to restore the rigorous oversight that was planned under the A Partnership For National Unity and Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) coalition government.
The AFC pointed out that the government has scrapped the coalition’s oversight mechanism to “include the highly specialised a 36-member Oil & Gas Unit that was developed by the World Bank and the EPA for which the World Bank provided a UG $1 million grant.”
One component of the oversight mechanism “included 24/7 on-site EPA presence in order to obtain real time and accurate information, instead of having to rely upon and accept information solely provided by Exxon.”
As it relates to contract amendment, the AFC said the actions of the APNU+AFC government, where the 2016 Production Sharing Agreement (PSA) was amended in 2019, and sought to bring clarity to the coalition government’s previous position that royalty payments are not cost recoverable, the AFC says it clearly demonstrates that if the parties to the Contract are willing, a review and renegotiation of the existing contract can be undertaken, but this of course requires the necessary political will.
“The AFC once again reconfirms its willingness to support a review of the Oil Contract for the mutual benefit of both the Operators and People of Guyana,” the party said.