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Signed away: How Exxon’s exploitative deal deprived Guyana of up to US$55 billion

Author: Global Witness, Published on: 11 February 2020

With so much oil off its shores, will Guyana benefit from Exxon’s 2016 Stabroek license?... In light of critiques of Stabroek’s fiscal terms, Global Witness has commissioned OpenOil to determine what revenue Guyana will receive if Exxon extracts the oil it has found to date... OpenOil’s analysis concludes that Exxon’s deal is unfairly exploitative. It finds that Guyana will receive up to US$55 billion less than it should from the Stabroek license; an average of US$1.3 billion per year.

... Exxon employed aggressive negotiating tactics. At the same time, Guyana’s Natural Resources Minister Raphael Trotman – who helped negotiate the deal and ultimately signed it – may have been operating under a possible conflict of interest. The evidence suggests that Trotman also failed to represent his country effectively during negotiations, declining to listen to expert advice and under-valuing Guyana’s apparently strong bargaining position.

... Countries like Nigeria and Papua New Guinea have recently called for oil companies to renegotiate the terms of their licenses. Guyana can do the same by negotiating a better Stabroek deal and, given how important the license is to the company’s future, Exxon should come to the table.

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