Ramotar fails to explain giveaway of oil blocks to unknown companies

Kaieteur News – 01 June 2019- By Kiana Wilburg

In a three-page statement to the media yesterday, Former President Donald Ramotar took time to pronounce on the application and approval process that was followed when he signed away two key oil blocks just days before the 2015 General and Regional Elections.

Former President Donald Ramotar

But the multibillion-dollar question Ramotar avoided answering was why he signed away oil blocks in very deep waters to firms which do not have experience in deepwater exploration. The Canje Block was awarded to Mid-Atlantic while the Kaieteur Block was awarded to Ratio Energy.

He even dedicated several paragraphs to the APNU+AFC Government’s poor management of the oil sector.

This newspaper carried a comprehensive report yesterday exposing the fact that Ramotar told the media on several occasions that he had no idea oil was found when he signed away the blocks. However, the State Asset Recovery Agency (SARA), which is investigating the matter, has its hands on an advertisement that was published in all the local newspapers on May 8, 2015 with the screaming headline: “…U.S OIL GIANT EXXON STRIKES OIL IN GUYANA…” This ad, which contradicts Ramotar’s comments in the media, is one of the reasons why SARA is moving ahead with its probe.

But Ramotar insists that his actions were transparent. He explained in his missive to the media that the applications by companies for exploration in the Kaieteur and Canje Blocks date back to 2012 and 2013 respectively.

The former President said that both applications were processed and approved by the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) in accordance with the relevant laws and regulations around late 2013. He said that all fees paid were fixed by law and were paid to the GGMC, not to any private accounts.

Further to this, Ramotar said that while the applications were in the system since 2013 and 2014, delays in the signing of the agreements were due to matters surrounding Venezuela’s navy seizure of Anandarko contracted seismic vessel Technic Pardana in late 2013.


PPP MAY 8, 2015 AD Ramotar said that at the time of application, processing, approval and signing of the Petroleum Prospecting Licences for the Kaieteur and Canje Blocks in Guyana’s offshore basin, there was no confirmed commercial petroleum discovery in the area by ExxonMobil or any other company.

He even pointed to the PPP/C advertisement, saying that it substantiates his position. The former President quoted the advertisement, in part: “An Exxon oil exploration well …offshore Guyana has discovered hydrocarbons, a strong indicator of the evidence of oil.”

What the former President fails to highlight is that the same advertisement which was carried just days after he approved the licences, carries a headline in bolded caps which state: “BREAKING NEWS…U.S OIL GIANT EXXON STRIKES OIL IN GUYANA…”

PROBE WELCOMED
Like Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo, Ramotar said that he welcomes any investigation that is done on the matter but stressed that it should be conducted by an independent and impartial international firm.

He said, “…No Guyanese can expect a non-partisan investigation by SARA. Any unbiased, professional independent review will once more confirm all due legal processes were followed and during the PPP/C time in office the country’s best interest was served, given the realities of the day…

The former President concluded that the PPP/C has nothing to fear from an independent investigation.

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Comments

  • michael hawkins  On 06/02/2019 at 7:33 am

    Ah the joys of having oil. They come at you from all over Good luck

    guyaneseonline posted: “Kaieteur News – 01 June 2019- By Kiana Wilburg In a three-page statement to the media yesterday, Former President Donald Ramotar took time to pronounce on the application and approval process that was followed when he signed away two key oil blocks jus”

  • Trevor  On 06/03/2019 at 10:30 am

    These mysterious oil companies are based in ISRAEL.

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