A la "COMISIÓN PRESIDENCIAL PARA LA DEFENSA, REESTRUCTURACIÓN Y REORGANIZACIÓN DE LA INDUSTRIA PETROLERA "ALÍ RODRÍGUEZ ARAQUE" (LA COMISIÓN): Estimados Compatriotas, el lunes, próximo pasado, escribí un artículo, "Parte 20. Potenciales Nuevos Negocios en La Faja", en el, como siempre, hago referencia al estado de ilegalidad de todos o casi todos los contratos, no solo de La Faja , sino los de las áreas tradicionales. Si esto se corrobora, como verdad legal, no hay nada que negociar con los socios y, simplemente, el Estado tomaría el Control Total de todas esas empresas. ¿A qué viene lo de Guyana? Bueno, en Guyana pasó que, particularmente, la ExxonMobil, con un país muy débil por donde quiera que se le mire, como lo fue y lo sigue siendo Guyana, le impuso, condiciones leoninas en los contratos de exploración y explotación de hidrocarburos en Costafuera. Con la exploración realizada, hasta ahora, se han estimado unas Reservas Probadas en el orden de los 8 mil millones de barriles de petróleo, sin contar el gas asociado con 18 descubrimientos, los más grandes en Suramérica de los últimos cinco años.
Más abajo, podrán leer, tres documentos en los cuales distinguidas personalidades de Guyana fijan posiciones cuestionando los contratos firmados. Nota: Si requieren todos los contratos, con gusto se los envío.
Lo que le pasó a Guyana, se parece bastante a lo que le hicieron a Venezuela, en tiempos del gobierno de Caldera, en los contratos de Exploración a Riesgo y Ganancias Compartidas, en las Asociaciones Estratégicas y en los Convenios Operativos, ya las conocemos: Regalía del 1 %, cuando debían pagar, al menos, el 16 2/3 %; impuesto sobre la renta del 30 % cuando debían pagar un poco más del 50 %, etc. Pero como el artículo es sobre Guyana veamos a lo que obligó ExxonMobil, en el caso Guyana, y lo que hicieron otras empresas, también, con un país débil como Surinám a manera de comparación. Voy a hacerles un comentario sobre el primer documento, de los tres, que un Guyanés publicó en un periódico de ese País, "rogándole" a ExxonMobil que reconsidere el Contrato y se "apiada" de Guyana. Todavía, este Señor, cree que puede ablandar el corazón de ExxonMobil. Particularmente, creo, que el método a seguir en Guyana tiene que ser el que aplicó Venezuela, el cual es fue el de denunciar los Contratos y atenerse a las consecuencias legales. Mientras tanto, Guyana tiene que diligenciar el préstamo del algún "amigo" para pagar los costos de abogados y, con constancia, coraje y con el aguante a la presión de los "verdes" y del apoyo de la Resolución 1515, y otras, de las Naciones Unidas, harán que ExxonMobil se siente en la mesa de negociación. Con seguridad, conseguirán modificar el Contrato con mejoras en el porcentaje de regalia, en el impuesto sobre la renta, en el porcentaje de las deducciones de los gastos, en la no quema del gas asociado, etc, etc.
Mas arriba, mencioné a Surinam y aquí presento algunos datos comparativos con Guyana que, tampoco, lo favorecen mucho. El caso Surinam daría para otro artículo. Lo voy a pensar.
Consideremos estos hechos;
(1) La regalía de Guyana es del 2%; la regalía de Surinam es del 6.25%
(2) La recuperación de costos de Guyana representa el 75% de los ingresos. El de Surinam es del 60%. (En el caso de Guyana, hay menos posibilidad para participación en los beneficios).
(3) Guyana obtiene el cero por ciento del impuesto sobre la renta de ExxonMobil ; Surinam obtiene 36%.
Ya, Nosotros pasamos por ahí, cuando el Presidente Chávez, el 26 de febrero de 2007 promulga el "Decreto 5200" que obligó a las "Asociaciones Estratégicas" de la Faja Petrolífera del Orinoco Hugo Chávez y a las empresas de "Exploración a Riesgo y Ganancia compartida" y a los "Convenios Operativos" a migrar a Empresas Mixtas en el área de petróleo, con un mínimo de 60% de capital accionario en manos del Estado venezolano.
El que Guyana tome la decisión, parecida a la de Nosotros, sobre la soberanía de sus recursos petroleros es un hecho que estará por verse. En un primer escenario, perderán algo , económicamente, pero recuperarán la soberanía sobre sus recursos naturales. En un segundo escenario, creo el mas probable, que ExxonMobil y sus Socios se sienten en la mesa de negociación y le otorguen a Guyana mejores condiciones en todos los aspectos de su interés. Al principio, como siempre, los inversionistas se negarán a conversar, pero...
En el caso nuestro, para finalizar, y a la luz que estamos aplicando los FUNDAMENTOS para los cuales fue creada LA COMISIÓN, es el momento de ejecutar otro hecho heroico como el del Presidente Chávez y tomar el Control Absoluto de la Industria Petrolera. Estamos en una situación más fácil que la de Guyana y Surinám ya que casi, si no todos, los contratos de las Empresas Mixtas están en una condición de ilegalidad y no hay nada que negociar. ¿O no?. Lo que si es cierto es que vendrán nuevos negocios, bajo condiciones diferentes. Matamos al Tigre en el 2007, no le tengamos, ahora, miedo al cuero.
Aún con las "esposas" que le pusieron a Guyana no solo la ExxonMobil , sino también la Hess (USA) y CNOOC (China), las cuales son las empresas que tienen la asignación, al menos, del bloque Stabroek, donde se han hecho 18 descubrimientos hay gente, en Guyana, que siguen presionando al Gobierno de Guyana para que se renegocie los contratos firmados. Hay que esperar a ver si este nuevo gobierno tiene las suficientes, de aquellas, para llevar al banquillo a estas empresas, Creo que si, si se toma la decisión. No olvidemos que el dueño de los Recursos, cualquiera que estos sean, son de la propiedad del estado respectivo; si no, veamos el párrafo siguiente: Las Resoluciones de la Asamblea General de la ONU 523 del 12 de enero de 1952; la 626 del 21 de diciembre de 1952, la 131 del 12 de diciembre de 1953 por la que se creó la "Comisión de la Soberanía Permanente sobre los Recursos Naturales"; 1515 del 15 de diciembre de 1960, que recomienda "que se respete el derecho soberano de todo Estado a disponer de su riqueza y de sus recursos naturales" y 1803 del 14 de diciembre de 1962, reconocen el derecho inalienable de los países y pueblos sobre sus bienes naturales.
Primer documento. This detestable ExxonMobil agreement must be renegotiated, the gov’t must act
By Stabroek News October 9, 2020
Regardless of which political party is in power, the obnoxious and detestable 2% contract between the Government of Guyana and ExxonMobil’s subsidiary and their partners is deemed to be unnegotiable by the government. Irrational and sad! As it is clear to anyone who is intent on negotiating a fair agreement for Guyana, basic common sense and a little courage is needed to repair the sell-out oil agreements, which corner and rip-off the oil resources belonging to the Guyanese people.
Renegotiate the contract for a royalty of 15%, not retreat or surrender or put blinders on to avoid and hide from the disrespectful terms of an amputated and contemptible contract.
Using slippery jargon and promises to hoodwink the people of Guyana does not change the reprehensible terms contained in the Production Sharing Agreement. All the fanfare and twisting and untwisting of words will not change the underlying and fundamental problem with this parasitic contract, which sucks the livelihood out of our people, especially the poor and extremely poor.
A referendum is not needed to determine that the contract is disadvantageous and an embarrassment to Guyanese. Are we going global to determine whether a 2% royalty is acceptable? Having such a referendum will only add insult to injury. It’s like having a referendum to decide if 33 is a majority of 65.
Exxon’s abuse of the Guyanese people with this punitive and wicked contract that was literally served on our subservient cabinet members has not been overtaken by any positive developments for Exxon or Guyana. Instead, it seems Exxon has received the Dutch Curse: – oil prices fell to record lows, Exxon reported record losses for January to June of 2020, the company has been removed from the Dow Jones Industrial Index of blue chip stocks after 90 plus years, Exxon’s share price is at record lows, with their market capitalization dropping from over US$300 Billion in 2016 to less than $150 Billion in 2020, also COVID-19 is having a devastating impact on the company’s oil sales.
I recall writing an open letter to Exxon’s CEO, Darren Woods, appealing to his conscience to free Guyana from this ignoble contract see March 5, 2018 edition of Stabroek News, Kaieteur News, Guyana Times and the Oil & Governance Network, among other publications, the publications carried varying captions: "Remaining oil blocks should be marketed only after Exxon contract is renegotiated, ExxonMobil Agreement should be renegotiated before new deals with other companies." The letter among other statements, implored Exxon to give Guyana a fair deal, not the 2% pittance, grandly called a royalty.
An extract from the letter is still relevant: "We in Guyana, with a relatively small and poor population of between 750,000 and 800,000; now appeal for Exxon’s compassion, mercy and kindness to renegotiate the June 27, 2016 agreement, signed three days before Exxon’s June 30, 2016 announcement of 1.4 Billion barrels of oil discovered at another Liza Well in the Stabroek Block. Whether, the representatives of Guyana knew of this 1.4 Billion barrel find on that fateful day of June 27, 2016, when the Petroleum Agreement was signed, would undoubtedly have made no difference to the contents of the agreement, as our Government has defended the Petroleum Agreement; strenuously, hoarsely and ad nauseam. Mr. Darren Woods, Chairman and CEO of ExxonMobil, kindly heed the pleas and prayers of the Guyanese people." We feel no pleasure in seeing Exxon sink from its decades of glory, let us rise together with a fair agreement, by freeing Guyana from this lynch-like contract.
Segundo documento. ExxonMobil desperately needs Guyana to improve financial standing after losing $184B in six years
Aug 31, 2020 News
By Kiana Wilburg
The economic pressures brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the backlash it received over the years for concealing how its products contribute to climate change have left American multinational ExxonMobil in a financial quagmire. Just recently, CNN Business reported that the company has had US$184B wiped off its market valuation since its 2014 peak, and less than a week ago, it was kicked off the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Dow Jones, or simply the Dow, is a stock market index that measures the stock performance of 30 large companies listed on stock exchanges in the United States. Exxon is no longer part of that elite club.
When one takes the foregoing factors into consideration, International Lawyer, Melinda Janki believes that the recent comments by ExxonMobil Guyana’s President, Alistair Routledge, to the effect that it can take its investment elsewhere if it does not get its way with the Payara Field Development Plan (FDP) are "utter rubbish". The lawyer posited that ExxonMobil is financially weak and desperately needs Guyana to improve its standing.
With respect to the threat by Routledge to take the investment elsewhere, Janki said, "Guyana is a sovereign state. We are a sovereign people. We control our resources. ExxonMobil on the other hand can’t produce oil safely, won’t obey the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and has shown total disrespect for the state and for the people of Guyana. The Government must shut them down and start over."
She added, "Under our Constitution, and in a true democracy, sovereignty rests with the people. The government exercises that sovereignty on our behalf. The Guyanese people have raised very serious and fundamental questions about what this grossly exploitative (Stabroek Block) deal means for our resources and the future of this country. Exxon needs to provide answers."
Janki stated that, at the end of the day, Guyana should not accept any more false promises of wealth from a company that was just booted out of the Dow, that has lost US$184B in value in less than six years, whose share price has dropped from US$95 to US$40 in four years, and which desperately needs approval for its third well project here, called Payara. The lawyer said that the reality of the day is that ExxonMobil is the one who needs Guyana and not the other way around.
Almost a week ago, Kaieteur News would have reported that one of the critical issues stymieing the approval process for Payara is ExxonMobil’s desire to retain the loopholes it got in the Liza One and Two permits which allow for flaring. The other matter of concern pertains to the dumping of produced water into the ocean. When oil companies drill the sea floor to extract oil, it is not only oil that comes up with it; water is part of the mixture too. As a result of it not being needed, it is separated and disposed of.
The critical issue is how that disposal is being done. International best practices dictate that this produced water should be re-injected into the earth’s surface. Research conducted by Kaieteur News notes that in some cases, the produced water is discharged into oceans and other offshore water channels. Because no two geographic regions are alike, studies are done to assess the environmental risks of the produced water’s toxicity on marine life before granting approval for the disposal of it into the ocean.
In Guyana’s case, not a single study was done for the Liza Phase One or Two projects. Still, Guyana went full steam ahead with approving the permits for those projects, which allow for the disposal of produced water into the ocean.
Recognizing the grave mistake made in this regard, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which is headed by Dr. Vincent Adams, wants ExxonMobil to put systems in place for the re-injection of the produced water for the Payara project.
Kaieteur News was able to confirm with key officials close to the project that ExxonMobil is not pleased about this request and has rejected it.
Dr. Adams, who has been instructed to proceed on more than 120 days leave, had noted in an interview with this paper that he is not a proponent for the dumping of produced water into the ocean. He said that the Liza Destiny vessel is already dumping 4,000 barrels of produced water daily and in about six years, it will get to about 300,000 barrels.
Dr. Adams said, "I have worked in the oil fields as a Production and Reservoir engineer and we injected every single drop of water. If you are onshore, the water would obviously have to be re-injected. Also, the World Bank has made it clear that you should only dispose of produced water into the ocean when it is not technically feasible [to re-inject]."
In ExxonMobil’s case, Dr. Adams said, it is more than feasible.
Tercer documento. Guyana shortchanged by ‘Stabroek agreement’
By Navendra Seoraj
October 3, 2020
Vice-President, Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo
Jagdeo maintains, contends Harmon is ‘confused’– Payara Licence not a PSA
VICE-PRESIDENT, Bharrat Jagdeo, has maintained that the coalition-sanctioned Stabroek Block Production Sharing Agreement (PSA) with ExxonMobil and its partner, did not best serve the interest of Guyanese but the new government is committed to reviewing this agreement to allow for better local content, accountability and other things.
Under the PSA governing the Stabroek Block, Guyana will be receiving at minimum, two per cent royalty on all oil produced in the Block, plus 12.5 per cent profit oil.
As the capital and operating costs are liquidated, Guyana’s share of profit oil will increase, rising up to 52 per cent return on every barrel of oil sold.
The People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C), while in opposition, had criticised the agreement, and these criticisms still stand, said Jagdeo during a press briefing on Friday.
"The agreement did not serve the best interest of the people and we are committed to reviewing the Stabroek agreement to ensure we get more out of it," said the Vice-President.
The review entails going through all the provisions in the agreement and identifying areas where Guyana can "get more" for its natural patrimony.
This process was, however, confused with the review of the Payara Licence, which recently got the "green light" from Government.
HARMON AT SEA
"Leader of the Opposition (Joseph Harmon) does not know the difference between production licence and production agreement," said Jagdeo.
The Opposition Leader said: "PPP duped and deceived the people of Guyana as the Payara Block Agreement is very similar in terms to the Stabroek Block Agreement which the PPP and Bharrat Jagdeo in particular criticised endlessly while in the opposition."
In response to Harmon, Jagdeo said: "We were not reviewing or negotiating the production agreement, we were negotiating a production licence and EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) permit… as most of the fiscal conditions were already established in production agreement."
The Government of Guyana officially issued the licence for the project which was signed by both parties on Wednesday.
The project located in the Stabroek Block, is expected to produce up to 220,000 barrels of oil per day after startup in 2024, using the Prosperity floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel. The US $9 billion Payara development will target an estimated resource base of about 600 million oil-equivalent barrels and the largest single investment in the history of Guyana.
A review of the Payara Development Project, which is the company’s third field development in the Stabroek Block, was previously conducted by the Bayphase Oil and Gas Consultants contracted by the Department of Energy (DoE) under the previous administration.
The new People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) administration, however, decided to review the work already undertaken by the DoE to ensure that the interests of all Guyanese are protected and are in keeping with international transparency and accountability standards. The review was done by a team of international experts, headed by Canadian Queen’s Counsel Alison Redford.
Jagdeo reiterated that the licence issued by government does not include royalty, profit sharing and so forth; it just outlines the conditions which ExxonMobil will adhere to and abide by while developing its Payara Project in the Stabroek Block.
Some ‘critics’ had called for government to ‘hold’ the licence as leverage for the PSA to be revised, but Jagdeo said: "That is wishful thinking… a number of those people have never been party to these negotiations."
The Vice-President maintained that the PSA will be reviewed but he also emphasised the importance of the US$9 billion Payara investment which is twice the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) – just about US$4 billion.
"That means we cannot raise money ourselves… investments need to go ahead so that there is a stream of revenue that will come to Guyana… we want the development to take place," said Jagdeo, noting that the conditions outlined in the Payara licence are more stringent than those outlined in the licences for the Liza Phases 1 and 2 developments, which were prepared by the former Coalition Government.
In the licencing agreement, the Government has insisted that routine flaring is strictly prohibited without the approval of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). It is stated that flaring to maintain oil production will not be permitted. And the company will pay the Government for the cost of gas wasted during flaring and will also be subject to fines under the EPA related to emissions from flaring.
The fine will be calculated by applying the Government’s profit gas and royalty percentage share for a given month to the flared volumes, multiplied by the lower of the following: Inside FERC Henry Hub Index price as published by Platts- a Crude Oil Marketwire- each month; or the sales price agreed for gas from the Stabroek Block.
According to the agreement, ExxonMobil is also required to update its "base design" for the project to include "tie-in points" and space for produced water injection equipment.
Additionally, ExxonMobil will have to facilitate and fully cooperate with annual audits of safety critical drilling and production operations, including waste management and compliance conducted by a "chief inspector".
"Within 30 days of the licence and annually, on such date thereafter, for a total of five consecutive years, the company shall pay to an account controlled by the Government, the amount US$400,000 to be used by the Government for the procurement of the third party auditors to supplement the chief inspector’s resources and development institutional capacity for the ongoing conduct of audits under this paragraph," said Government in its agreement with ExxonMobil.
The company’s expenditures and operations are, however, still to be fully audited, and Vice-President, Bharrat Jagdeo, had said Government will aggressively pursue costs incurred by the company.
ExxonMobil and its prime contractors have spent over $300 million with more than 700 local companies since 2015. More than 2,500 Guyanese companies are registered with the Centre for Local Business Development, which was founded by ExxonMobil and its co-venturers in 2017, to build local business capacity to support global competitiveness.
The Stabroek Block is 6.6 million acres (26,800 square kilometres) with current discovered recoverable resources estimated at more than eight billion oil-equivalent barrels. The 18 discoveries on the block, to date, have established the potential for at least five FPSO vessels producing more than 750,000 barrels of oil per day by 2026.