Guyana: Oil Blocks awarded to four companies with no financial wherewithal

PPP Government: Canje, Kaieteur Blocks awarded to four companies with no financial wherewithal for exploration

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– Audited Finance statements and records of beneficial owners not submitted for EITI Report

When a government wants oil companies to explore the potential of a country’s resources, they court firms that have a track record of finding oil and gas.   But that has not been the case here.

Days before the 2015 General and Regional Elections, former President, Donald Ramotar acted in a manner that was contrary to this international best practice.

Ramotar signed away the Canje and Kaieteur Blocks, which total over 4.8 million acres, to four companies which have no track record of exploring for oil prior to 2015.       

They still lack the experience to independently do so up to this date. In fact, the four companies which were able to acquire these licences did not, and still do not have the financial wherewithal to independently search for anything in such deep waters.

CANJE BLOCK OPERATORS

The two companies, which President Ramotar signed away the Canje Block to are Mid-Atlantic Oil and Gas and JHI Associates Inc. The block was awarded to the companies on March 4, 2015. This was roughly two months before the May 11, 2015 elections were held.

According to documents held by the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) Secretariat, JHI was only incorporated on June 17, 2015 in the British Virgin Islands. This nation is under no obligation to provide countries like Guyana with tax information of companies registered there.

And even though Mid-Atlantic Oil and Gas was incorporated here on April 8, 2013, both companies were in one-on-one negotiations with the PPP government for the oil block one month before, that is, March 2013. This means that the individuals behind the companies were asking for oil blocks without having a company being formed as yet.

Furthermore, in a press release on Saturday, JHI and Mid-Atlantic sought to respond to the State Asset Recovery Agency’s (SARA) probe of the oil blocks. It was noted that JHI’s CEO is John Cullen and Mid-Atlantic’s is Dr. Edris Dookie who was named in the damning Panama Papers. Both are ex employees of CGX Energy, which is also operating offshore Guyana. The Canje Block operators claim that they brought in a “technical team with years of experience in the sector and significant financial capabilities based on prior successes.”

However, industry experts who spoke with Kaieteur News are urging the Guyanese public not to be fooled by these statements. The analysts who will be providing help to SARA on the case in due course stress that JHI and Mid-Atlantic would have to bring way more than the years of experience of a technical team for such a fairly new company to be granted a licence for the Canje Block that is in very deep waters.

“The point remains that the companies, JHI and Mid-Atlantic, do not have a track record for exploration anywhere in the world since its incorporation,” the officials added.

What is also significant to note is that the Canje block is the only asset that these two companies have to date. Further information on Mid-Atlantic could not be found since its webpage is under construction.
Additionally, JHI and Mid-Atlantic, which participated in Guyana’s EITI reporting process, failed to submit their audited financial statements for review. JHI also failed to submit information on its beneficial owners. The EITI report lists Dookie as the beneficial owner of Mid-Atlantic.

THE KAIETEUR BLOCK

President Ramotar awarded the Kaieteur Block to Ratio Energy Limited and Ratio Guyana on April 28, 2015. Both companies are registered at the same offices in Prashad Nagar and Gibraltar, Israel.

Ratio Guyana does not have a website but on the Kaieteur Block’s Production Sharing Agreement (PSA), a Ryan Pereira is signed on as the Company Secretary, Director and General Partner of the company. This company’s only asset remains the Kaieteur Block. Not a single trace of evidence can be found to prove that it has years of experience in the exploration of oil and gas. (SEE LINK FOR PSA : https://resourcecontracts.org/contract/ocds-591adf-2701587320/view#/pdf)

Ratio Energy, which also calls itself Ratio Petroleum is chaired by Ligad Rotlevy. With the Kaieteur Block in hand in 2015, this Israeli company was able to capture three other blocks. In 2017, it was able to acquire rights in Suriname’s basin, specifically for Block 47. In June 2016, Ratio Petroleum was granted a licence to operate in the Exclusive Economic Zone of Ireland.

In October 2018, the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and Ratio entered into a Production Sharing Agreement, for oil exploration in an offshore section of Philippines continental shelf, known as SC 76.

Of its four assets, Guyana’s Kaieteur Block is its largest. (SEE WEBSITE LINK FOR MORE INFORMATION: https://www.ratiopetroleum.com/en/about/ratio-petroleum/)

This newspaper understands that the Kaieteur Block operators did not submit their audited financial statements and documents regarding beneficial ownership for Guyana’s EITI report. The dates of incorporation for the two Kaieteur Block operators were also not provided to EITI. (See link for full report: https://gyeiti.org/wp-content/uploads/FinalGYEITIReport-FY2017.pdf)

The map attached to this article shows the proximity of the Kaieteur and Canje Blocks to the prolific Stabroek Block which has over 5.5B barrels of oil equivalent reserves. The Stabroek Block which is operated by ExxonMobil is 6.6M acres. When combined, the Kaieteur and Canje Blocks cover over 4.8M acres.

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Comments

  • dhanpaul narine  On June 5, 2019 at 2:49 pm

    This is serious. Mr. Ramotar should explain himself.

    • Kman  On June 6, 2019 at 10:17 am

      If he does not fully explain, then lock him up!

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