…in oil sale
It took the foreign business-focused Bloomberg News to spill the beans that the PNC coalition was going sell its first 3 million barrels share of our oil on the “spot market”. Up to then, all that we knew was the Exxon-led consortium had started “lifting” crude from the Liza field and were going to take the FIRST 3 million barrels. Why?
Well, the ENVIRONMENTALIST Bynoe – who heads our ENERGY Department – replied blithely, “My understanding is the first lift often comes with a fair amount of impurities”!! Well, duh! That’s an environmentalist for you!! All crude has IMPURITIES!! What he probably meant was suggested by him pointing out that the operators— Exxon, Hess and CNOOC— all had refining capabilities. They’d be able to hone in more precisely on the exact composition of our crude?
Now, this struck your Eyewitness as a bit of a stretch since the IOCs would’ve already assayed the oil months ago when they pronounced that our oil was “light and sweet”. Meaning that it has a low viscosity and low sulphur content – closer to the North Sea crude than the Trinis “heavy and sour” stuff. Your Eyewitness figured the decision to take first dibs on the crude was made by Exxon because they didn’t want any oil revenues to flow into Guyana’s coffers BEFORE the elections. They could’ve been seen as favouring the coalition, which, that Professor at the US War College had predicted, would be losing the said elections to the PPP!!
That obviously irked the PNC since they’d been counting on getting the oil money in their grubby big paws before the elections – to convince their supporters not to jump off their sinking ship!! Hence, their obscene efforts to stymie the NCM and scheduling the elections for March 2. If Exxon lifts the promised 120,000 BPD starting on Dec 15, they’d be finished shipping their 3 million barrels by mid-January and be in a position to pass on Guyana’s share, amounting to 1 million barrels by mid-Feb.
So enter Bynoe with his secret plot to sell their share of the oil on the spot market – for which they’d be paid immediately and be able to kill several birds with that one stone. Get some cash into the coffers – but also some into their elections war chest!! So do you understand why, in addition to the spot contracts, Bynoe resorted to the “unusual” step of instructing the brokers to come PERSONALLY to his office?
Where his hands would be under the table to receive that big, fat envelope!!
The brokers already know the code! They just have to wait on Bynoe’s wink!!
…on oil sale timing
Now, there are other signals that force any person with the slightest familiarity with the crude oil business to know that some hanky-panky is in the works. Take the timing of the sale to the brokers.
Selling oil on spot market…EITIU? Everyone knows that prices of crude oil bottoms out between Dec-Feb every year!! Just take a look at any chart of crude prices for the last decade.
As one report explains the phenomenon: “US refineries plan their maintenance shutdowns around the “slow” fall/winter period, reducing throughput and demand for crude. Stockpiles generally rise through the winter, causing oil prices to fall and usually bottom-out in December or January. It’s not uncommon for oil prices to bottom in the dead of winter”.
Then there’s Bynoe’s glib assurance that “the decision to sell the crude through the direct sale was made by all stakeholders on Guyana’s end”!! Really?? Aren’t the people of Guyana “stakeholders”?? He also didn’t bother to inform the Procurement Agencies, insisting an oil sale isn’t an oil sale when it’s sold on the spot market!!
Never mind this sets the price for term contracts!!
…in Fergie’s palatial lot
Some have taken objection to Minister Fergie insisting she only received one lot in Eccles.
In PNC’s NCM-influenced math, 1+1+1 = 1!!!