Kaieteur News – The major Guyanese newspapers have been exposing numerous issues around the oil contracts. One positive change, as a result of their relentless efforts, was having the Ministry of Natural Resources publish Guyana’s oil lift data. Additionally, it appears that the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) reviews have had some impact because a new website has appeared over the last several months that shows oil production and gas flaring graphs. But recent publications of the oil related information appear scattered and monthly oil production reports are still missing.
In 2021, most of the lift data was published on the Ministry of Natural Resources website including the 7th oil lift, which was published on August 9th, 2021. In many of the oil lift publications, one could easily find how much barrels were lifted and the payment received for the oil lift split into royalties and profit share. But the 8th oil lift data is not easy to locate. The 8th oil lift data on the number of barrels can be found in an article published on November 29th, 2021, and incorrectly titled “Gov’t announces fifth oil lift”, see https://dpi.gov.gy/govt-announces-fifth-oil-lift/. That article did not state by how much Guyana’s 8th oil lift increased the amount in the Natural Resource Fund. That increase appears, about a month and a half later, in another article published on January 14th, 2022 found here, https://dpi.gov.gy/oil-fund-co...tems-minister-indar/. However, what is not disclosed is how much money from the 8th oil lift is from royalty versus profit share.
On February 27th, 2021, the Kaieteur News noted in a feature titled, “Despite Jagdeo’s promise, Govt. not releasing monthly oil reports”, that they had made at least 10 attempts to access the oil productions reports from the Ministry of Natural Resources without any results. The article then quoted VP Jagdeo as saying, “I’m gonna talk to them to ensure that you get it, the monthly statements”. The article also stated that the Natural Resource Fund Act (NRF) 2019, specifically Article 42, stated “The Minister shall publish on the website of the Ministry and generally make available to the public… (c) the monthly reports within seven working days after they have been submitted to the Minister by the Bank…”. This wording has been kept in the 2021 NRF Act under Article 33. After this Kaieteur News feature and other publications in the media, the Guyana oil lift data started appearing on the Ministry of Natural Resources website but not monthly oil production reports.
Guyana recently went through an Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) review in the Fall of 2021. As an EITI implementing country, the Government of Guyana should be releasing data on the amount of oil extracted and the government’s share of production; and the revenues collected by the government from the sale of its share of oil for example profit oil, profit taxes, licence fees, etc.
Over the last several months, a new website has appeared that contains graphs of oil production and gas flaring. The website’s graphs can be found here, https://petroleum.gov.gy/data-visualization. Some of the graphs show daily oil production and gas flared. However, one cannot find any spreadsheet reports that correlate with the data. When the “Contact Us” form on the website was used to inquire for the spreadsheet data, an error was returned with this message, “Unable to send email. Contact the site administrator if the problem persists.” If one then tries to contact the site administrator at the email address listed, that is email@example.com, then an email does not exist error is encountered. Hence, one has to assume that this website is still a work in progress and probably the graphs and material on the website is sample data and may not be valid.
The government seems to be in a rush to approve Yellowtail, the 4th oil project. But coming up to a year since it promised to release oil production reports on the first project, Liza 1, it appears to be going backwards. Guyana’s 9th oil lift is about to occur, the data should be released in a timely manner and in one location. We call on the government to honour its commitment to publish monthly oil production reports as part of its commitment to the Guyanese Press, EITI and most importantly the Guyanese people.
Darshanand Khusial, on behalf of OGGN, www.oggn.org