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“Best lawyers,” needed to renegotiate agreement with ExxonMobil – Jagdeo

Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo on Wednesday urged the Guyana government to hire the best legal brains to renegotiate the profit sharing agreement with ExxonMobil.

“The government should hire the best lawyers in the world to make sure we engage. Get some advisers who can help with this sector,” he told a news conference. He said countries with oil sector experience  like Norway should be asked to assist Guyanese negotiators “so that we get the best deal” from ExxonMobil.

Jagdeo said it would make no sense just renegotiating the pact with that American oil giant and merely tabling it in the National Assembly because that law-making body would be unable to make any changes.

Instead, he wants the contracts to be made public before they are signed and that they can withstand scrutiny.

He argued that it was important for Guyana’s legal team to get the best deal from Exxon-Mobil, a globally powerful and influential oil company, that would survive any party in government. “It is absolutely important that we get the best agreement for the country given that we are negotiating with a company that is massive, massive by US standards. They have the best technical people in the world working for them,”  said Jagdeo, a former President.

Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman has been quoted by Oil and Gas Year as saying that government has to “ensure that we have lawyers that can advise on production-sharing agreements (PSAs).

He was also quoted as saying that the PSA with ExxonMobil was signed in the 1990s and it was now time to relook that agreement to ensure that the country extracts the best benefits.  Naturally, yes. For example, the PSA agreement with ExxonMobil was signed in the 1990s. Looking ahead, we want to make sure that Guyana gets a good share – 50% minimum. We would also like to ensure that royalties are in place, and we have to look at the issue of taxation again. Some countries favour paying taxes themselves,” he said.

The Minister of Natural Resources said government would like the PSA to take account of adjustments based on the price of oil and the cost of production. “As price goes up, you would expect to see increases in revenue rather than just have a base take. These are features we want to improve on,” he was quoted by the publication as saying.

Trotman said Guyana prefers long-term contracts with credible international companies. “We do not want to send a message that we are interested in short engagements. We want to build strong credibility and a sense that companies can come and feel secure here, develop their resources and function.”

  • Emile_Mervin

    Where was this joker’s demand for ‘best lawyers’ when he was giving away Guyana’s forests and sea life to Chinese hustlers or grabbing state assests for his best friend, who is nothing but a front man for the businesses in his name?

    If anything, Guyana needs the best lawyers to re-work all Jagdeo-Ramotar era agreements, because it is obvious Guyana was on its way to being owned by greedy local politicians and foreign hustlers.

  • SYL

    Yes sir! he must sit back relax if he can and endure the show. We need special prosecutors and lawyers to attend to the audits .

  • Col123

    Jaggy heard the jingling of coins…make that rustling of bills … and he wake up.,. thinking about lawyers… he must be looking for good legal help!…Granger and his merry men are looking skittish with this sleeping Jaggy..Trotman and company counting eggs… oil will get us those million dollar bill very soon if we don’t get the economy rolling… why can’t they get “those folks “…as those “market bloggers”would say ….to spend money?

  • Emile_Mervin

    I was thinking Jagdeo was on solid ground but a deal was struck with ExxonMobil during the PPP era, which means it had the opportunity back then to get the best lawyers. The fact the deal has to now be re-negotiated proves the PPP did not have the best lawyers. That was probably because politics trumped the law under the PPP.

    All the Coalition needs to do now is negotiate a good-faith deal with ExxonMobil that allows Guyana to come out with nothing less than a 49% stake in profits. 25% towards economic development and 24% towards environmental protection. If we ever end up with a 20/80 deal like the parking meter fiasco, Guyana will be robbed big time.

    Anyway, I agree we should hire seasoned lawyers qualified and skilled in international law governing expatriate corporations. These don’t cone cheap.