Guyana has received from ExxonMobil its third payment of oil and gas royalty, a sum of US$4.3 million, which has been deposited into the New York-based Natural Resource Fund (NRF).
When contacted by this publication, Natural Resources Minister Vickram Bharrat confirmed that Guyana received the US$4.3 million payment only a few days ago. According to him, this latest tranche of payment brings Guyana’s total in the United States Federal Reserve account to approximately US$148 million.
The Bank of Guyana’s half- year report, which covers the period up to the end of June 2020, had recently revealed that Guyana produced over 10 million barrels of oil during the first half of 2020.
Production was, however, beset with the problems that came with the COVID-19 pandemic, and as such, fell short of the targeted production figures. According to the report, Guyana was able to produce 12.3 million barrels of oil at an average of between 65,000 and 75,000 barrels of oil per day.
Guyana, with oil giant ExxonMobil as operator, only began producing oil last year in the Stabroek block, lifting its first million barrels of profit oil from the Liza-1 well in February 2020. Oil tanker Cap Phillippe transported this lift from the Liza Destiny Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessel, allowing Guyana to receive its first payment the next month.
That money, GY$11.4 billion, constituted Guyana’s first oil revenue-based earnings from production in the Liza field. It was deposited in the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in March of this year.
An additional sum of GY$7.3 billion was subsequently deposited, as well as royalty payments. So far, Guyana has received three cargo lift payments and three royalty payments, courtesy of the Liza-1 well. This means more than US$140 million has been deposited in the Natural Resources Fund.
However, this money has remained untouched, as the protracted political crisis that followed the March 2nd General and Regional Elections sabotaged any attempt to set up a system for withdrawing funds. The Natural Resource Fund Act stipulates that various committees must be established to provide oversight for the fund. It is expected that this legislation will be reviewed by the current Government.
During his recent keynote address to the Forecast on Latin America and the Caribbean Conference, President Dr Irfaan Ali had made it clear that the monies will remain untouched until key reforms intended to ensure transparency are enacted.
“My Government is focused heavily on transparency and accountability. As you know, we have demonstrated this after the negotiations of the licence for the Payara. Not only did we make the agreement public, but we also made the environmental permit public, so nothing is done in secrecy,” he had reminded.
“I’ve said before, there’ll be an arm’s length relationship with the politicians. We had international experts leading those negotiations and discussions,” the Head of State was quoted by the Office of the President as saying. (G3)