first_img… “reminds us we have to be vigilant”Days after Vice President and Foreign Affairs Minister Carl Greenidge announced that there are really no guarantees to guard against ExxonMobil underpaying royalties in Guyana – as is the case in Chad, Africa, where the company has been fined US$74 billion – Natural Resources Minister Raphael Trotman has conceded that Government is observing the development with keen interest and that it further serves as a reminder that “we have to be diligent.”Natural Resources Minster, Raphael TrotmanTrotman was at the time addressing a media conference on Friday held at the Cara Lodge in Georgetown.Minister Trotman in weighing in on the development did seek to point out that ExxonMobil’s legal woes in Chad could in fact be a boon for Guyana since the oil exploration giant will in fact have to find some money and find it fast.He suggested that the need for the company to secure monies in order to pay off its multibillion-dollar fines could in fact spur the company into accelerating its oil exploration activities in Guyana.The Minister suggested that ExxonMobil’s legal woes does not mean it will have to cut back on its operations in Guyana since this country “remains one of the few places where ExxonMobil’s ability to earn exists… We don’t in any way see them cutting back.”The Minister said if the company has a debt to pay off then it is a case where the company will have to earn money in order to make its payments.He told media operatives that Government officials are in regular meetings with officials of ExxonMobil; which has not denied the charges against it.“They have accepted this is, so it is a lesson for us to learn and give attention to,” said Minister Trotman, who also sought to explain that Guyana’s immediate concern is to ensure “we remain on track with timelines.”ExxonMobil – Guyana’s largest oil exploration partner – has been fined US$74 billion for underpaying its royalties in the African country of Chad.Minister with responsibility for foreign trade and international cooperation, Carl Greenidge this past week told media operatives that ExxonMobil’s legal woes in Africa serves to underscore the need for strengthening of institutions locally such as its Natural Resources and the Environment Ministry.Greenidge at the time told media operatives there is nothing that can be put in place since government will have to rely on its capacity and regulatory regime.“Protection lies first of all in making sure that the Ministry is properly equipped with the necessarily skills… That the formula that we have negotiated is reviewed and from time to time adjusted,” said Greenidge.With regards to protecting Guyana against being essentially deprived by ExxonMobil as it is accused in Chad, Minister Greenidge said “There is nothing that you can put in place… There is nothing to put in place to automatically fix these things.”Speaking directly to the Africa imbroglio, Greenidge said it was imperative that there be a case of constant monitoring, assessing and reporting… that only happens if the mechanism is weak or it (Chad’s Government) was not paying attention.”The Vice President said it must be kept in mind that companies such as ExxonMobil are companies, “… a company is a commercial enterprise bent on making profits.”He said countries operating across the world in their bid to maximise the profit margins, sometimes flout the laws within which they were supposed to work in, if allowed to do so.Greenidge said companies such as Exxon have to be considered partners – partners that must work with the rules which they were permitted to operate but it must be recognised that “there is no partner that will operate forever without trying to dodge the rules.”The Foreign Affairs Minister said it is for the Government to ensure that its rules and capacity are up to date and constantly reviewed to ensure that the companies adhere to their obligations.ExxonMobil Corp, the company which is currently intensifying exploration activities in Guyana after striking oil here recently, was fined a whopping US$74 billion for underpaying royalties in the central African nation of Chad where the company has been drilling for 15 years.According to international reports on the mega fine by Chad courts, the amount is about five times more than that country’s Gross Domestic Product, which the World Bank estimates at US$13 million.The High Court in the capital, N’Djamena, announced its ruling on October 5, 2016, in response to a complaint from the Chad Finance Ministry that a consortium led by ExxonMobil hadn’t met its tax obligations.The court also demanded that the Texas-based oil explorer pay US$819 million in overdue royalties, according to the document.last_img

Leave a Comment