The government does not intend to engage in further post-audit negotiation on the US$214 million in questionable spending from 1999 to 2017 with ExxonMobil Guyana, the company searching for and producing oil offshore.
So says Vice President Dr Bharrat Jagdeo who emphasized on Thursday that the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) has advised that the audit be closed at that US$214 million sum and the government has accepted this advice.
“I don’t believe there is scope at this stage for that (a settlement) especially given the magnitude of reduction Exxon is talking about, moving from US$214 million to US$3 million.
“… if you’re saying we’ll settle at US$3 million that will effectively leave the government with half of that or so (and) those figures are not palatable at all,” Jagdeo said on Thursday at a press conference hosted at the People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) headquarters in Georgetown.
This audit is the first ever one conducted on cost claims by ExxonMobil Guyana Limited, previously known as Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Limited (EEPGL), for the pre-production period.
And if challenges remain, Jagdeo said the government may have to move to arbitration and let an “independent third party” handle the audit.
Already, President of ExxonMobil Guyana, Alistair Routledge said arbitration is the last resort to resolve the audit findings.