APNU/AFC who signed Exxon’s deal now willing to support negotiation
Kaieteur News – Even after being a part of the coalition government that signed and failed to renegotiate the lopsided Stabroek Block Agreement, General Secretary of the Alliance For Change (AFC) and now Shadow Oil and Gas Minister David Patterson, has given his assurances that the coalition in opposition will support the People’s Progressive Party /Civic government if they wish to renegotiate the ExxonMobil deal.
Patterson made these utterances during a Kaieteur Radio programme, Guyana’s Oil & You on its end-of-year edition, where he told the panel of industry experts and listeners that during their five years in government, while holding the power and authority, the former A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) never got the chance to correct the poor provisions in the deal.
Examples of a few of these sub-standard provisions, which are crafted in such ways that Guyana would suffer significant value leakage, include Guyana paying Exxon’s billions of dollars in taxes; pre-contract costs discrepancies; unspecified interest rates expensed to Guyana for loans to the oil entities; weak environmental standards; Guyana’s inability to control the amount of oil being produced; and infrastructure cost anomalies between the Liza One & Liza Two Floating Production, Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessels.
If the new PPP/C government wishes to renegotiate such a deal, Patterson indicated, the coalition will be offering their “unconditional support”.
Notably, during his time as Opposition Leader, now Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo had repeatedly trashed the Exxon deal. Even in late December, the VP had taken issue with the fact that some of the wording of the Stabroek Block Production Sharing Agreement (PSA) creates the impression that ExxonMobil and its co-contractors have sovereignty over Guyana.
He had said, in fact that “I do have problems with making it seem as though Exxon has sovereignty within a sovereign nation. I do have problems with that kind of configuration,” the VP had said, “and some parts, wording of the contract confers or creates that impression that they have sovereignty over the country.”
But even with these concerning reservations and criticisms, the VP and the PPP/C government have refused to renegotiate the contract.