It’s the clause in the Exxon contract dealing with environmental liability that concerns me.
The way people see Guyana’s Oil is the way they would behave in managing the oil industry. Is it the oil of Bharrat Jagdeo (Oil Czar)? He could call all plans like oil contracts, how the money is spent, etc. Is it ExxonMobil’s oil? They say how much money we get. Is it oil from Guyana? – run for Guyanese, their parliamentary representatives would have a say in oil contracts and how the money is spent. Which is it?
It’s Guyana’s Oil but we have a contract with ExxonMobil to extract the oil. It is not a set in stone contract as it can be renegotiated if both parties agree. Thus, the claim of sanctity of contract is fundamentally a red herring. I don’t want to dwell too much on oil because people will think I have oil in my brain. What concerns me is the environmental liability clause. In simple terms, in the event of an oil spill, Guyana must pay. Nothing new here as there was Omai devastating the environment and they got away with it. Now they’re back for more. Where is Dr. Vincent Adams of EPA fame when you need him?
I’m no environmentalist, but I can see that a major oil spill will wipe out the flora and fauna of the entire Atlantic coastal region and could drift inland into the Essequibo, Demerara and Berbice rivers. Property values will drop because no one wants to live in the villages, towns and oil sludge town. Guyana does not have the resources and the capacity to fight against a major oil spill.