Guyana debunks Huffington Post article; says EGCI not helping to craft oil laws

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Guyana has described as inaccurate, an article published by The Huffington Post which asserts that the United States’ Energy Governance and Capacity Initiative (EGCI) is helping to craft oil and gas regulations in the South American country.

The Ministry of Natural Resources in a press release on Thursday said the article published on January 17, 2017 inaccurately states that the United States’ Energy Governance and Capacity Initiative (EGCI) is “involved in writing oil and gas regulations for the country of Guyana, where Exxon has just announced another major oil find.”

“There is no truth to the assertion in the article that the EGCI will be playing any part in writing Guyana’s oil governance laws, or any laws for that matter. The Commonwealth Secretariat is the lead agency supporting Guyana in preparing a suite of legislation for the oil and gas industry,” the ministry said.

While the EGCI has been lending support to Guyana for the past six years in the area of capacity building to manage eventual oil and gas revenues, the ministry said it is in no way writing oil and gas laws or regulations for Guyana.

“It is important to note that this relationship between Guyana and the EGCI programme in Guyana predates the Ministry of Natural Resources and the current Coalition Administration as it commenced in 2010. Indeed, the Government of Guyana has had many engagements with the officials of the United States’ Department of State as part of the capacity building initiative. However, the EGCI programme has only been partially implemented through a series of scoping studies that were conducted in 2016,” the ministry pointed out.

Also commenting on the article on Thursday was Guyana’s former Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment, Robert Persaud. In a comment on his Facebook page, Persaud said, “The Government of Guyana, since 2011 (and even previously) has been working with many other agencies other than the US Government such as the Commonwealth Secretariat, Canadian High Commission, Chatham House, the United Nations Development Programme and the World Bank Group on the development of polices and regulations to manage a modern oil and gas sector.”

Persaud said based on his information, “…the sovereignty of Guyana in making decisions relating to hydrocarbon development and operations has not been surrendered, at this point in time and hopefully will never be.”

The natural resources ministry in its statement said the EGCI can be a useful programme once implemented and is but one in a raft of assistance measures that Guyana is receiving to bolster and in some cases build capacity in oil and gas governance.

In June 2016 Exxon announced the presence of high quality oil at its Liza-2 well in the Stabroek Block offshore Guyana. Then on January 12, 2017, the company made another announcement of positive results from its Payara-1 well, also located in the Stabroek Block. Experts believe these discoveries are merely the tip of the iceberg and expectations are high for further oil finds.

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