Relationship with Exxon must be based on accountability, openness – President
President David Granger has said that Government will be working with ExxonMobil to develop a long-term relationship founded on transparency, accountability, openness, and aligned interests for the good of Guyana.
During a State House meeting with a visiting delegation of ExxonMobil executives on Wednesday, President Granger said that, at the end of the process, Guyanese
must be able to view the development of a petroleum industry as one that is beneficial to the national interest.
“We are at the start of an oil and gas industry and we want to ensure that our people are involved… We are happy with the way things are going so far, and we want to assure you of the Government’s commitment to transparency and accountability.
“We take decisions at the Cabinet level, and then those decisions are taken to the National Assembly; and we do not see that process changing. All Guyanese must feel involved in the process,” Granger said.
The meeting with the ExxonMobil delegation discussed matters related to the status of exploratory and appraisal work being done in the Stabroek Block, as well as the relationship between Government and that company.
The President noted the importance of regular and accurate announcements on matters pertaining to the development of the sector, and added that Guyanese must be involved, especially in the mainstream opportunities which are available in the industry.
“We have got to keep the public informed, to ensure that civil society does not feel that there is some underhand relationship which is injurious to the country. We want to make the right steps, and we are looking to see that the population get the education they need to participate in this industry.
“We are looking to ensure that this industry generates employment for our people, and as part of our partnership, I hope that we can have a programme which can help to educate Guyanese on this industry,” he said.
To ensure a long-term and mutually beneficial relationship, the President said, Government is working to develop the requisite framework and strengthen capacity in areas which establish and maintain good governance.
Natural Resources Minister Raphael Trotman also attended the meeting, and echoed the President’s sentiments, stating that the engagement is part of an ongoing dialogue that aims to strengthen the relationship between Guyana and ExxonMobil for the benefit of the Guyanese people.
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of ExxonMobil Corporation, Darren Woods, in an invited comment, described the meeting as fruitful, noting that the Government’s commitment to transparency and accountability was discussed in detail. He said the administration’s commitment is welcomed, since the company’s interests and aims are in alignment with this.
“I think it is a very productive conversation that we just had. The Government is looking to make sure that we develop the resources, and that we do it the right way — that can benefit the community and the people of Guyana.
We are very committed to that ourselves, and we had a lot of discussions and dialogue to see how best we can do that to benefit ExxonMobil, the Government and the people of Guyana,” he is quoted by the Ministry of the Presidency as saying.
Woods said ExxonMobil remains committed to its investments in Guyana, and is swiftly moving ahead with its production plans.
The meeting was also attended by ExxonMobil’s executives: Country Manager and Project Executive, Rod Henson; ExxonMobil’s Guyana Senior Director of Public and Government Affairs, Kimberly Brasington; and Director of Government Relations, Carlton James. Also attending the meeting were ministers Basil Williams, Joseph Harmon and Dominic Gaskin.