The New Today


Oil & Gas: Our Patrimony, Government’s Secret (Part I)

In the first part of this article, we indicated that the Production Sharing Agreement (“PSA”) between the Government of Grenada (“GOG”) and GPG dated March 31st 2008, for the “exploration, development and production of offshore petroleum resources of Grenada”, was for an initial period of 4 years and was manifestly disadvantageous to Grenada.

Because of the plethora of evidence that showed the PSA and the accompanying 40 year Exploration Licence literally gave away the patrimony of the people of Grenada, the NDC spent 2009 to 2012 working to undo the tremendous damage done by Mitchell and Bowen.

During that time, the NDC: (a) successfully defended the case brought against the GOG by RSM Corporation (Jack Grynberg); (b) thoroughly reviewed the agreements with GPG; (c) held discussions with GPG to obtain a better understanding of the circumstances surrounding the signing of those bad agreements and tried to negotiate a better deal and; (d) solicited advice from various experts in the field to help recover our patrimony.

Critically, in 2010, the NDC successfully concluded boundary delimitation with Trinidad & Tobago and was preparing to do the same with Venezuela when we demitted office. Delimiting our maritime boundaries with these two neighbours is necessary to avoid future maritime boundary disputes about where we are entitled to develop and explore for resources.

The NNP recklessly ignored this during its prior terms and again, in the period 2013 to present.

The PSA was not only one-sided in favour of GPG. It also deviated starkly from other similar agreements. At this time, it is not known whether the parties have signed a new agreement on terms more beneficial to Grenada or whether they are proceeding on the basis of the agreement signed in March 2008.

GPG, egged on by NNP, did not co-operate with the NDC administration. Nothing was done under the agreement between 2008 and 2012. For these reasons, we believe that a new agreement was not signed. That is why Government is refusing to be transparent about the current deal with GPG. The agreement is so reprehensible that the people of Grenada are to expect no benefits from the oil and gas sector in the foreseeable future. Any benefit will go to GPG and the third parties contracting with it.

Government continues to lie to the public, insisting that the agreement with GPG is not for public scrutiny. In fact, it is normal in the industry for Governments to make PSAs with private companies public. Often times, the entire agreement is published, as was recently the case with Guyana and its PSA with ExxonMobil.

Complete transparency is crucial as Government must fully account to the people, especially as it relates to revenue management. Only by publishing the PSA with GPG, will the people of Grenada understand the rights and obligations of the parties and the structure for revenue sharing.

Bowen and Mitchell are refusing to make the PSA public because if they do, their lies about how much Grenada stands to benefit will be fully exposed.

Bowen recently told the nation that so far we have received $20 million into our treasury from the oil and gas sector. However, there is no record of this ‘revenue’ in any of our previous Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure. The NDC challenges this administration to show us where in our estimates this revenue is recorded.

We all know of the announcement the Prime Minister made on March 11th 2018, the eve of elections, and the promise of plenty money that we should not put Nazim Burke in charge of. At the NNP convention on October 28th 2018, Bowen told the gathering: “Let us wait for the next year, when we can drill the wells, before we can say we are out of the doldrums economically.”

Yet, on GBN’s Beyond the Headlines on 7th January 2019 when confronted with his election eve promise, Mitchell responded: “I did not say it will come yesterday…based on where we are, I think we will see some results within the next four years.” Mitchell, Bowen and their minions can’t get their stories straight. That is because they continue to disrespect us by telling lie after lie.

On the same Beyond the Headlines show, the host highlighted to Mitchell, the lack of transparency about what’s happening with oil and gas. Mitchell’s response was: “Well as long as we have more information, we will bring it.”

Mr. Prime Minister, you do have the agreement between the GOG and GPG, bring it to us. Make it public just as the Guyanese Government made theirs public.

(The above was submitted by the main opposition National Democratic Congress)