Kaieteur Oil Block red flags warrant investigations
Oct 26, 2020 Kaieteur News
…The Fleecing of Guyana series
Kaieteur News – The circumstances surrounding the Kaieteur oil block award, made by former President Donald Ramotar, and the subsequent farm-ins, have demonstrated several red flags which warrant a thorough independent investigation.
Kaieteur News will, for the rest of the week, demonstrate how major tropes common in international extractives industry corruption scandals are applicable to the Kaieteur block scenario.
The Kaieteur block is currently estimated to hold 2.1 billion oil-equivalent barrels. It was awarded April 28th, 2015 – just two weeks before the 2015 general and regional elections, by Ramotar, on the advice of former Minister of Natural Resources, Robert Persaud.
Two companies received the block with 50-50 stakes, Ratio Energy Limited (now Cataleya Energy Limited) and Ratio Guyana Limited.
Ratio Energy was incorporated in Gibraltar on April 15, 2013, and registered in Guyana on October 23rd later that year.
Independent watchdog, Global Witness, said in its damning report Signed Away, that at the time of receipt of the block, the company was owned by an Israeli-based lawyer named Richard Roberts.
Ratio Energy’s name was changed on August 3, 2017 after it received the Kaieteur Block. Its two directors are the Canadian, Michael Cawood and Guyanese, Ryan Perreira, who have experience in mining.
Cawood’s LinkedIn page lists him as Cataleya’s Director and Chief Executive Officer. His reported mining experience spans several companies, including the Mexico-focused Mammoth Minerals Inc., the Ghana-operating Bonte Gold Mines Ltd., and the Canadian Riva Gold Corporation.
Pereira’s LinkedIn page lists him as Cataleya’s Director and Co-founder.
Pereira’s reported mining experience is with the companies Golden Eruption and Vertex Mining. He also has experience with a company called JRX Holdings Inc.
The Pereira Group has history of collaboration with Riva Gold Corporation.
In 2010, agreements were announced meant to allow Riva the option to acquire the rights to certain groups of mineral properties in Guyana, specifically gold.
Neither of these men had any experience in oil exploration to talk about, prior to Cataleya’s receipt of the Kaieteur block.
Two other names are important in Cataleya’s corporate structure. Incorporation articles list Finsbury Corporate Services Limited as a director, and Finsbury Secretaries Limited as the company secretary. Both of these companies are based in Gibraltar.
The other initial owner of the Kaieteur block is Ratio Guyana, a subsidiary of the Israeli company, Ratio Petroleum. The parent company has said that it has been active in the oil industry for decades, and has touted assets in several countries in Asia, Europe and South America. The company says that in addition to Guyana, it currently owns rights in Suriname, Ireland and the Philippines.
Notably, Global Witness reported that Pereira, who is a director in Cataleya, represented Ratio Energy in April 2015 when it received its stake in the block. This means Pereira was involved in both companies which received rights to the Kaieteur block at the time of receipt.
More to come tomorrow…