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In what is probably his clearest position to date, Leader of the Opposition Aubrey Norton said he is open to the renegotiating of the oil contract. Responding to a question posted by Kaieteur News at the Opposition’s press conference, Tuesday last, Norton made clear his position.
Making known when the A Partnership for National Unity and Alliance for Change (APNU+AFC) government signed the contract in 2015 the Stabroek Block was only one billion barrels compared to nearly 11 billion presently, a renegotiation is timely. This block had no less than 31 discoveries.
Exxon and its partners said they plan to pump 1.2 million barrels of oil and gas per day from the block by 2027.
According to the company, Liza Phase 1 is producing approximately 130,000 barrels per day using the Liza Destiny floating production storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel; Liza Phase 2, which started production in February, projected capacity is 220,000 bpd using the Liza Unity FPSO.
The Payara project is expected to produce 220,000 bpd with start-up likely before year-end 2023, and the Yellowtail (Phase 4), is expected to produce 250,000 bpd when the One Guyana FPSO comes online in 2025, the company said.
Norton also called for the benefit from oil to have more even distribution, than what he considered presently exists, where the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) elites, friends and family are leading beneficiaries. Similar allegations have been made against the government by other sections of society. The government operates undisturbed by these claims.
President Irfaan Ali is yet to invite the Opposition, which represents half the society, for engagement in developing a national plan that could see wide involvement of Guyanese.
Opposition Leader Norton on the other hand has not put forward proposals to the citizens how the Opposition would like to see the oil revenue spent, save for calling on the government to ensure equitable management.
The AFC has repeatedly voiced its support for the renegotiation of the oil contracts.
The PPP when in Opposition accused the APNU+AFC government of not getting the best deal for Guyana and promised should they return to government they will renegotiate the contract. Two years later the government has taken no step in this direction even though there have been numerous finds since their return to government.
Civil society has also called for renegotiating the contract as well as ensuring all Guyanese benefit from the oil revenue. Last month, government announced Guyana is expected to earn US$1.1 billion in oil revenue this year with an expectation of eight lifts of profit oil for the remainder of 2022.
Those opposed to renegotiating the contracts have been referred to the 2016 Public Sharing Agreement (PSA), Article 31.2 which states, “This agreement shall not be amended or modified in any respect except by written agreement entered into by all the parties which shall state the date upon which the amendment or modification shall become effective.”