GRA studying IHS Markit audit report; unaccounted money will go to profit oil- Jagdeo

Last Updated on Tuesday, 4 April 2023, 11:18 by Denis Chabrol

Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo on Tuesday denied that government was hiding the 2021 IHS Markit audit report that has found more than US$200 million in questionable claims, an amount that he said could be converted to profit oil if ExxonMobil could not justify the expenses.

Addressing the opening of the Local Content Summit organised by MBW Energy Services Inc; in collaboration with the Ministry of Natural Resources, he disputed a report in the privately-owned Stabroek News newspaper which suggested that the political directorate was hiding the report by the United Kingdom-headquartered company. “That report has been with the staff of the Ministry and with the GRA (Guyana Revenue Authority) and all their technical people for the last several years. Nobody is hiding the report,” he said.

Mr  Jagdeo later told reporters that he has since spoken with GRA Commissioner Godfrey Statia who is expected to dispatch a media statement on the matter. Stabroek News reports that the audit found that cost claims from 1999 to 2017 amounting to US$34,346,312 are ineligible and US$180,065,682 have no documentation taking the total to US$214,411,994.

“Let GRA deal with it and you’ll get a response before the end of the day,” he insisted when asked what GRA has been telling government about its consideration of the IHS Markit audit report.

According to the Vice President, if the ExxonMobil-controlled Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Limited (EEGPL) could not provide additional information, there would have to be an adjustment to profit oil. “Then the cost is disallowed and it comes out of the cost bank and goes towards cost oil so a greater share of the adjustments would have to be made to profit oil.”

ExxonMobil racked up US$1.67 billion in expenses from 1999 to 2017 on aspects such as seismic surveys, drilling of exploration wells and partial preparation for production from the Liza 1 well during that time-frame.

HS Markit describes itself as a world leader in critical information, analytics and expertise to forge solutions for the major industries and markets that drive economies worldwide. The company delivers next-generation information, analytics and solutions to customers in business, finance and government, improving their operational efficiency and providing deep insights that lead to well-informed, confident decisions.