Press reports state that massive amounts of oil have been discovered in Guyana, and foreign company ExxonMobil has been contracted to explore and carry out the extensive operations to market the “black gold”.
While ExxonMobil is spending tens of billions of dollars in the exploration process, concerns are being expressed by Guyanese within and outside of Guyana about the arrangement between the Government and ExxonMobil. The latest came from Nigel Hughes, an outstanding attorney and Director of Guyana Oil and Gas Association (GOGA).
Two prominent and highly qualified Guyanese in the diaspora — Dr Tulsi Singh, who has been in the oil business for decades in Midland Texas, and Sam Boodhoo, CPA, CA, a certified professional accountant of Canada, who had given professional advice to several oil companies — feel the Guyana Government should be very cautious in signing its final agreement with ExxonMobil.
Boodhoo has written a paper on Guyana Oil Dealings, wherein he highlighted the pitfalls and stressed that Guyana should establish a corporation owned and controlled by Guyanese to manage the oil resources. He feels that there might be deficiencies in the negotiation process. Dr Singh, on the other hand, who was not too optimistic that Guyana would earn billions from the oil, is now of the ‘view that the Republic would benefit tremendously because of three factors: (1) Hess Corporation, a 30% owner in ExxonMobil, is making financial arrangements for the Guyana project; (2) XOM, as the operating partner in Guyana, has confirmed a ,4 billion on the deal, and XOM has engaged SBM Offshore NV, a Dutch offshore oil and gas behemoth, to convert a huge crude oil tanker into a floating production storage and offloading platform.
The minister responsible for the oil Industry, Raphael Trotman, an attorney who is not an expert in oil, should seek the advice of Guyanese in the diaspora who are experts in the field and who are willing to offer their advice.
Two other Guyanese entrepreneurs – Brian Ramphal of California and Mc Sood Amjad of St Maarten – have also expressed their concern and want to ensure that Guyana is not taken for a ride by foreign big business.