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APNU+AFC unexcited by announcement of oil find

Exxon-Mobil is currently exploring for oil in the ‘Liza’ area of the Stabroek Block

by Zena Henry

A Partnership for National Unity+ Alliance for Change (APNU+AFC) Coalition seems un-ecstatic over recent claims that Guyana may have struck oil. The announcement came a day before the Coalition registered its delight that should the country strike the mineral, a responsible and corrupt- free government would be in place to the put the resource to the correct use.

The Coalition told media operatives on Friday May 8 that over the years Guyana has had significant indicators of oil finds. While the party made no mention of the recent announcement being part of a campaign gimmick by the ruling People’s Progressive Party (PPP), they were adamant that any success would not bear fruitful until the next five years.

Presidential candidate David Granger said that, “there have been significant oil find indicators over the last 35 years,” and that it would probably take about five years before the oil could begin to flow. In the meantime, party Executive Rupert Roopnarine’s confidence was placed in the “new government” being around to ensure that, “resources from the operation do not go the same route as other projects.”

Granger said, that a lawful, responsible and transparent government will ensure that, “any revenues from the mineral will be used for public good and ensure that the people of Guyana are the beneficiaries of any profits coming from that.”

The United States government has been holding several workshops and seminars with Guyanese regulatory and other government officials on international best practices that should be in place to avoid corruption from an oil and gas economy. The Guyana government has repeatedly expressed its intention to join the Norway-headquartered Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI).

Available records show that in 1982, there were reports of oil find in Takutu Basin in the Rupununi Savannah by the defunct Home Oil Limited which abandoned operations when the company pulled out of the country. In 1999 there was uncconfirmed information also of oil in West Berbice when water gushing some four feet high was accompanied by a gaseous smell.  It was believed that the Fort Wellington area had struck oil, which was later found to be a deposit of methane.

On May 7, the Natural Resource Ministry related that Esso exploration well, the Liza-1 on the Stabroek Block, using the drill-ship, Deepwater Champion located approximately 120 miles offshore Guyana, encountered Hydrocarbons.

Minister Robert Persaud made the announcement but was unable to confirm whether there are commercial quantities of hydrocarbons, specifically light crude. He said a full evaluation of the results is underway from the exploration company.