Last Updated on Wednesday, 7 February 2018, 22:34 by Denis Chabrol
About five hours after Dr. Jan Mangal, Petroleum Advisor to President David Granger delivered a number of hard-hitting criticisms of the controversial ExxonMobil contract, government sought to dissociate itself from his positions.
“The Ministry of the Presidency puts on record that Dr. Jan Mangal, Presidential Advisor on Petroleum, is not authorised to speak on behalf of His Excellency, President David Granger or the Government of Guyana,” the Ministry of the Presidency said in a one-line statement issued at 9:50 PM.
Mangal delivered his presentation between 3 PM and shortly after 5 PM in his capacity as Presidential Advisor on Petroleum as was stated on the University of Guyana programme for its “Discussion on the Government of Guyana’s Vision for the Oil and Gas Sector”. He was introduced by that designation and at no time did he say whether or not he was speaking in his private or official capacity.
He stopped short of saying whether or not he would like to see the contract revised, opting only to remark that he would make known his views known in the coming weeks.
Mangal’s latest short-term contract expires in March.
At the forum, Mangal said the two percent royalty that Guyana secured from ExxonMobil in the 2017 Production Sharing Agreement was way below the globally accepted norms of between 10 and 20 percent. No tax on oil revenues did not find favour with Mangal who has worked in several oil producing nations.
He, however, welcomed the 50-50 percent split in profit oil.
Taking credit for pushing for the release of the ExxonMobil contract in December 2017, Mangal said that was needed to stimulate public debate so that civil society and the wider Guyanese community could determine whether it is a good or bad deal.
Mangal said he was also behind efforts to have the contract reviewed by experts from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) to review contract.
At the same time, he cautioned against amending the contract because that could send a bad signal to investors.
Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman has repeatedly defended the contract, saying that previously there were no provisions for funding training and corporate social responsibility and there was no real royalty. He said the contract takes into consideration the political, financial and border-security related risks associated with the Guyana-Venezuela boundary controversy.
Guyana begins commercial oil production from the Liza well at a rate of 120,000 barrels per day. ExxonMobil is also eyeing the possibility of increasing its daily production soon after with the addition of another Floating, Production, Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessel.