APNU+AFC gov’t, ExxonMobil had no agreement for Guyana to pay for new headquarters -Mahipaul

Last Updated on Saturday, 11 February 2023, 0:05 by Writer

Mr. Ganesh Mahipaul

Opposition A Partnership for National Unity+Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) parliamentarian Ganesh Mahipaul on Friday said his then governing coalition and ExxonMobil never agreed that the US$160 million that would be spent on building a new headquarters building at Ogle, East Coast Demerara would be recovered from oil revenues.

“I’m guided that there were discussions and there was no agreement with our side–the government side at the time APNU+AFC–and Exxon’s position for this to be cost recoverable, Mahipaul told Demerara Waves Online News. Mr Mahipaul said at that time the cost of the new building, which would be fitted with specialised equipment, was not US$160 million but said the three former ministers at the time “didn’t give me a figure”.

Mr Mahipaul challenged ExxonMobil to prove that the coalition was aware of that deal. “If Exxon is saying that the APNU+AFC knows about this deal, then they should provide evidence to show that there was some confirmation that the APNU+AFC was prepared to let this be cost recoverable,” he said.

His position came a day after the President of ExxonMobil Guyana, Alistair Routledge said both the now governing People’s Progressive Party (PPP) and APNU+AFC were aware that the cost of the new headquarters building in Guyana would be cost recoverable.

According to Mr Mahipaul, the cost of the headquarters building could be spent on improving the lives of ordinary Guyanese, infrastructure, health, education, school feeding and security rather than being included in cost oil. With Mr Routledge already saying the number of workers is expected to increase from over to 200 to about 500 would provide another opportunity to cream off more revenue as cost oil. “Exxon seems to be focussed on increasing cost oil and we don’t have any monitoring mechanism in place to verify how they are spending this money and then they are calling it cost oil,” he said.

Mr Routledge said the headquarters being constructed on 15 acres of land in the vicinity of the Eugene F. Correia ‘Ogle’ International Airport would include all of the required technology on one floor, control rooms and facilities to monitor the offshore operations via fibre optic connectivity. “This is a fit for purpose development…It is very much a part of the offshore operations,” he said.

The APNU+AFC parliamentarian shrugged off suggestions that the cost of the building includes technologies, saying that at the end of ExxonMobil’s tenure in Guyana those technologies would not be of any value to the government. He determined that “Exxon is functioning effectively right now with the Stabroek Block.” He said he was unaware of the number of production wells that ExxonMobil was bringing on stream.