GUYANA OIL: Canje Oil block award filled with red flags of Corruption

The Oil Giveaway Graveyard

In excess of one hundred billion American dollars of our oil wealth were given away by PPP leaders, with the Coalition and civil society silently consenting. THIS WAS ON THE CANJE OIL BLOCK ALONE.

To cheat and insult us further, Guyana must pay the owners of Mid Atlantic, who handed government a bill, without detailed information, for GY $100 million in pre-contract costs related to that same oil block.

They gave away the Canje oil block for free and then the hustlers of Mid Atlantic turned around and handed this ludicrous bill without explanation

Separately, we have asked for months on our Front Page: who owns the Canje and Kaieteur oil blocks? Two men whose names appeared on incorporation documents: the first said he cannot recall (legalese for covering up); while the other stated that his hearing is not like before. Meanwhile, President Irfaan Ali and Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo, and the Coalition Leaders Joseph Harmon and Raphael Trotman are extremely silent. More and more, Guyana’s oil is like a graveyard: frightening silence and holes dug by government and opposition leaders to bury all of us.

Canje Oil block award filled with red flags of Corruption

– Despite Guyana gets nothing from the US$ billions the oil block is worth, taxpayers owe G$100M pre-contracts costs to owners

Kaieteur News – This is the first of a series of articles exploring and exposing the circumstances surrounding the Canje and Kaieteur Blocks awards. Kaieteur News will be revealing the truth about the giveaways, which have deprived present and future Guyanese of their entitlement to the country’s oil wealth.


Director and sole shareholder of Mid-Atlantic Oil & Gas, Edris ‘Kamal’ Dookie

Estimated at a value in excess of US$100 billion, Guyana has gotten nothing from the giveaway of the Canje Block. Yet, taxpayers were handed a bill to the tune of G$100 million in pre-contract costs by the company, with no explanation of what pre-contract costs constitute.The Canje Block was awarded by the Donald Ramotar administration on March 4, 2015 days before the elections, to the local company, Mid Atlantic Oil & Gas, incorporated in 2013 by Hewley Nelson a management professional and Nicholas Chuck-A-Sang, a geologist. Nelson, who was listed as President of the company at the time, was also a Director.

Director of Mid-Atlantic Oil & Gas, Hewley Nelson

He has since served on several public boards, including on the board of the Marriot Hotel’s parent company, Atlantic Hotel Incorporated, appointed to that post in 2017 by the David Granger administration. He is also understood to have dedicated many years of service the Hand-in-Hand Trust Corporation Inc., even serving as its General Manager. Nelson is also listed on the website of the Guyana Association of securities Companies and Intermediaries Inc. as a member of the board of directors.
Kaieteur News sought to contact Nelson yesterday to ascertain certain details on the award, but he said that traffic in the area made it difficult for him to hear, and that he would return the call. He did not. Subsequent attempts to reach him proved futile.

Former Director of Mid-Atlantic Oil & Gas, Nicholas Chuck-A-Sang

Chuck-A-Sang, a petroleum engineer currently serves at the Department of Energy, and has a long history of service with the Government, dating back to the early 1990s. Kaieteur News reached out to Chuck-A-Sang by phone yesterday to enquire about his involvement with Mid-Atlantic. He was not employed by the Government at the time, he explained, since he had worked for the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) until 2005 as its Senior Petroleum Geologist. He related that he went into private consultancies during that period, and it was through that work that he came into contact with Mid-Atlantic. That company, he said, had asked for assistance setting up.

e noted that he had worked with the company as a geologist, but could not remember precisely when he left. Chuck-A-Sang said he could not provide information regarding transfers of stakes in the Canje Block, nor of payments, as he was not involved in those matters.

The Canje Block agreement also includes the email address of another individual who is understood to be central in the company, Dr. Edris Kamal Dookie. Dookie was not listed as a director when Mid-Atlantic Oil & Gas was incorporated, but he is currently the sole shareholder. He joined Mid-Atlantic as a Director after the company was awarded the Canje Block.

Dookie is the only principal of Mid-Atlantic that has any prior experience in oil and gas. In 1996, he co-founded CGX with a Canadian named John Cullen. The company was granted the Corentyne Block in 1998. In 2000, the company’s rig was forced away from location by Surinamese gunboats while working to fulfill the company’s commitments under the agreement. Over the years, CGX has benefitted from a few more licensing concessions from the Government of Guyana.

In March 2013, it was reported that Dookie was no longer part of CGX, but it is unclear why he left, or whether he was fired. In that same month, an application was made for the Canje Block by Mid-Atlantic. The company was not yet incorporated when the application was made – with incorporation taking place one month later. Attempts were made to contact Dookie, as well, but they were unsuccessful.

Several important details about the Canje Block award have evaded public knowledge, despite the fact that international transparency best practices require that the man on the street be able to easily access them by picking up the phone or by a few clicks on the internet. The same is true for the circumstances, which followed the award, as the block changed hands.

The public plea for information from both the People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) and A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) is made even more urgent by the fact that the award is wrought with red flags listed by the Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI), an independent anti-corruption advocate, as potential signs of corruption.

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  • brandli62  On 10/12/2020 at 4:03 pm

    The Canje Oil Block award appears to have the potential of a huge scandal. It is now most important that the contract details of the Canje Oil Block Award to Mid Atlantic are made public by the current government. Why are President Ali and VP Jagdeo silent on this issue?

    I hope that the contract contains provisions regarding the development of the oil block and what happens, if this were not to happen. Ideally, the government would set a 1-year dead line for Mid Atlantic or the company currently holding the rights for the Canje Oil Block to start with exploratory drilling activities. If this deadline is missed the contract needs to be canceled on the basis of inactivity. Paying the 100 million GYD (0.5 million USD) to compensate for accumulated costs seems to me peanuts, if it leads to regain of government control over the Canje Oil Block.

  • Dennis Albert  On 10/12/2020 at 5:31 pm

    Our country might have the most billionaires in the Americas at the rate the oil discoveries are being known.

    Many in Venezuela are alluding that they want to reclaim the Essequibo due to the potential oil, gas, gold, diamond and rare minerals wealth.

    How much oil is north of the Stabroek Block, if the Stabroek Block is low water oil? To think of the oil potential in the high water part is a prospect of riches for the PPP cohorts.

  • Jasmine  On 10/12/2020 at 7:52 pm

    I wish that the oil was just left in the ocean. The Guyanese people will not get to enjoy the benefit of this motherlode and neither will the country for that matter. All the monies will go to the oil companies involved and those who look the other way.

    • Dennis Albert  On 10/12/2020 at 11:20 pm

      I will ask Lilian Chaterjee and Alison Redford in Canada: Where is the democracy and why did Redford rob Guyana of the oil contract with Payara?

  • Norman Abel  On 10/12/2020 at 11:23 pm

    Please continue your enquiries pertaining to the various contracts awarded
    to these unknown and shady characters. they are trying to steal the future of
    Guyana. Please! Please! Please! help the people of Guyana. do not stand by
    and allow them to be VICTIMS of FRAUD.

  • brandli62  On 10/13/2020 at 3:24 am

    The Guyanese people need to stand up and demand full and complete transparency regarding the oil block contracts. VP Jagdeo get your act together or resign.

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