I take issue with Jan Mangal’s recent letter in the press about Guyanese participation in our oil industry. In the letter “Bright light needs to be shone on MNR/GGMC over award of oil blocks” he states that, “The country does not benefit when say twenty well connected Guyanese get a couple million US$ in the bank, a couple Land Cruisers, and acquire some properties in Miami and Long Island. Also, no Guyanese can legitimately “partner” with any of the major oil companies.”
What is Mr. Mangal saying here? If he has evidence that specific individuals are engaged in corrupt practices to gain oil block licences, then he should disclose it and endorse a full investigation. And even if he has concrete evidence of that sort, how can he extend that to a blanket statement that not a single Guyanese should have the ability to invest in oil blocks? Are we all unqualified and corrupt?
Mr. Mangal goes on to say that “the guidelines mentioned above pretty much disqualify all Guyanese applications for oil blocks. But this is alright, this is not a problem. Disqualifying the unqualified is a good thing.” Fair, most Guyanese right now don’t have the capacity to develop an oil block. But if there are, now or in the future, Guyanese companies that are able to invest the money, who is Mr. Mangal to say they can’t because of their nationality?
Importantly, it is clearly stated in the government’s standard Production Sharing Agreement that if a company does not explore or develop a block within a short period of time, it must relinquish its ownership and the block can be auctioned again. So, why can’t Guyanese be allowed to bid on blocks? If they can’t find money or hire the skilled workforce to develop it, then they’ll have to relinquish it anyway. It seems to me this could be a great opportunity for Guyanese companies who know the coast and our geology well, but don’t have the capacity to develop the fields singlehandedly.
Mr. Mangal should rethink his position and use his expertise to help Guyana’s oil industry move forward, instead of asking that it be held back.