Urgent: Guyanese Demand That Guyana’s Laws Should be Enforced on All Oil and Gas Contracts

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Considering the recently won case of Dr Troy Thomas, former president of Transparency Institute Guyana Inc., against the Guyana EPA and Exxon causing the Environmental Protection licence issued improperly for 24 years to be reduced to 5 years as per Guyana law, and considering the Government’s promise of Transparency and Accountability, we strongly demand that the Government of Guyana:

  1. Renegotiate ALL the oil contracts starting with the Stabroek Block contract notwithstanding the issuing of the Payara permit. There can be no “sanctity of contract,” if some provisions of the contract violate the laws of Guyana. As is, Global Witness says Guyana will lose US$55 billion dollars on the Stabroek Block. Guyana’s budget for a year is approximately US$1.4 billion. The loss of income here is enormous.
  2. While the Stabroek Block deal is bad, we seem to have a worst deal with the Canje and Kaieteur blocks which were flipped and violate many of Guyana’s regulations. Canje and Kaieteur contracts should be rescinded and the process redone in accordance with law. There is no signing bonus, and Government has committed to paying $100 million to the oil companies. Why?
  3. Ensure that all new deals result in a substantial increase in the financial benefits for the Guyanese people. The current 1% and 2% is robbery but 15% is a reasonable royalty.
  4. Rescind the stability clause which prevents any Government of Guyana from renegotiation of the Stabroek Oil contract although some provisions may be illegal.
  5. Revisit the legality of an excessive number of oil blocks awarded above the 60 block limit imposed by Guyana’s laws.
  6. Insist that Guyana should not be paying taxes on behalf of the oil companies.
  7. Require that the oil companies should not be flaring billions of cubic feet of Guyana’s gas without penalties. It is estimated that it would cost over US$24 million to remove the 9 billion plus cubic feet of carbon dioxide produced from flaring.
  8. Complete all audits in a very rigorous manner to ensure Guyana is not losing income by paying for extraneous expenses.
  9. Create a clear agreement that removes liability from Guyana paying for oil spills or any other harm to the environment. The oil companies should bear the full responsibility.
  10. Demand better local content policy and it should be enshrined in law.
  11. Establish a petroleum commission with broad representation from all sectors of society including qualified experienced experts from the diaspora with adequate resources to execute its investigative, oversight, and enforcement functions.