President appoints Major General (Ret’d) Joe Singh to chair NRF Board

– Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett, Ramesh Dookhoo, David Lammy & Dunstan Barrow appointed Directors

In keeping with his powers under the Natural Resource Fund (NRF) Act 2021, President Dr Irfaan Ali has appointed five persons to the NRF Board, including Major General (Retired) Joe Singh, who will chair the Board.
The announcement was made on Wednesday that President Ali had appointed Major General Singh; a United Kingdom Member of Parliament (MP) with Guyanese roots, David Lammy and Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett, who currently serves as Guyana’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations.
Also appointed were the National Assembly nominee, Barrow, a former bauxite industry official and former MP for the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) and Dookhoo, a longstanding executive of the Private Sector Commission (PSC), who was nominated by the body.
It was explained that Major General Singh had been appointed as the Chairman of the Board of Directors and he, along with the others, was expected to take their Oaths of Office shortly.
In a brief interview with Guyana Times, Dookhoo said that he was honoured to have been called upon to take up the mantle as a Director on the Board. He also assured that he would, at all times, act in accordance with the law and the purposes of the Fund.
“I think the NRF fund is extremely important. I’m very honoured to have been chosen by the Private Sector, right across Guyana, as well as the acceptance by the Government of Guyana. My intention, as always, is to serve in the best interest of all Guyana.
“And to ensure that the board moves in the direction for which it was intended, that is sticking with the laws and the legislation that empower the Board and to ensure that Guyana gets the best that is possible out of the petroleum funds,” Dookhoo said.
Meanwhile, Major General Singh declined to comment when contacted.
Section 3 (1) of the NRF Act 2021, Act No 19 of 2021, which was assented to by President Ali on December 30, 2021, establishes the NRF to manage the natural resource wealth of Guyana for the present and future benefit of the people in an effective and efficient manner and in accordance with the principles of good governance, transparency, accountability, and international best practices, including the Santiago Principles.
Section 5 (1) of the Act provides for a Board of Directors of the Fund comprising not less than three and not more than five members, who shall be appointed by the President, inclusive of a Chairperson.
In accordance with Section 5 (2), these Directors are to be selected from persons who have wide experience in legal, financial, business, or administrative matters, one of whom shall be nominated by the National Assembly and one of whom shall be a representative of the Private Sector.

During the 46th sitting of the National Assembly on April 13, a motion was unanimously passed approving Barrow, who was nominated by the Standing Committee on Appointments of the National Assembly, as a Director of the Board of Directors of the NRF.

Then, last month, it was revealed that the PSC had named Dookhoo, a longstanding member, as its nominee to the Board. It had been reported in other sections of the media that Dookhoo was selected over the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) Director Richard Rambarran.
Guyana, with US oil giant ExxonMobil as the operator, began producing oil on December 20, 2019, in the Stabroek Block. The first-ever payment of US$54.9 million for an oil lift was received in February 2020.
Exxon Country Manager Alastair Routledge has said that the Guyana Government has already received over US$600 million in direct revenue from Exxon’s operations offshore Guyana. This, he had said, will grow quickly as a result of high oil prices and the recent start-up of the Liza Phase 2 project.
Since Exxon found crude in commercial quantities offshore in 2015, there have been 28 oil finds to date in the Stabroek Block and an estimated recoverable resource of over 10 billion oil-equivalent barrels.
The company is currently undertaking four production projects – Liza 1, Liza 2, Payara, and Yellowtail in the oil-rich block. Production capacity is currently at 120,000 barrels per day (bpd) with the Liza Destiny Floating Production, Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessel in operation.
Meanwhile, production only recently started in the Liza 2 development, which is said to produce even lighter crude than Liza 1. It is also estimated that when the Yellowtail development project comes on stream, production will climb to 810,000 bpd by 2027. The US oil major anticipates at least six FPSOs producing one million bpd by 2030.
Stabroek Block is 6.6 million acres (26,800 square kilometres). Exxon, through its local affiliate Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Ltd (EEPGL), is the operator and holds 45 per cent interest in the Block. Hess Guyana Exploration Ltd holds 30 per cent interest and CNOOC Petroleum Guyana Limited, a wholly-owned subsidiary of CNOOC Limited, holds the remaining 25 per cent interest.