…refused company’s openness to be audited – JagdeoThe revelation from ExxonMobil itself that it gave Government the list of local companies it is using is not going down well with the parliamentary Opposition. Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo is expressing surprise that Government had hid these details from the Guyanese public.Opposition LeaderBharrat JagdeoOn Monday, Jagdeo ‘called out’ Natural Resources Minister Raphael Trotman on the Government’s reluctance to come clean, given that ExxonMobil had given Government information on the company’s local content commitments.“Guyanese would recall that, last month, when asked about his failure to make the disclosure, Minister Trotman was flippant in saying that he ‘did not know why Exxon had not released the names’ of the local companies it engaged. It is only over the past several days that Guyanese became aware that Minister Trotman was in fact in possession of the information,” Jagdeo said.He added that he feels firmly that Trotman is hiding behind the Chairman of the Parliamentary Sectoral Committee on Natural Resources as another excuse for not making the information public. “It is a flimsy excuse and it exposes his reluctance to act. There is nothing stopping his release of the names of the local companies.”Jagdeo went on to reiterate his call for the Government to release the list of 309 local companies used by ExxonMobil in 2017, as well as the 227 used during the first quarter of 2018.Pre-contract costNatural Resources MinisterRaphael TrotmanGovernment’s acceptance of a pre-contract cost of US$460 million in the Production Sharing Agreement it signed with Exxon has been a sore point between Government and civil society for quite some time.Guyana will have to audit and verify cost oil claims ExxonMobil will make on its revenue. Exxon is expected to use revenue from its production in order to recoup its capital investment. Whatever remains of this is the ‘profit oil’ Guyana will have to split with the oil company and its associates.According to Annex C of the PSA, pre-contract cost “shall include four hundred and sixty million, two hundred and thirty seven thousand and nine hundred and eighteen United States Dollars (USS 460,237,918) in respect of all such costs incurred under the 1999 Petroleum Agreement prior to the year ended 2015.”The fact that this is money Exxon will have to recoup at the expense of revenues that would have actually been retained by the Government during that time period has caused outrage. However, ExxonMobil is not opposed to the audit, but the Government simply did not audit it.The Opposition Leader, in addressing this issue on Monday, said he has noted ExxonMobil’s position in saying that audits of pre-contract costs are “expected and customary” in the oil sector.“In doing so, I think it is clear, again, that the Coalition Government failed the Guyanese people in the re-negotiation of the oil contract,” Jagdeo stated.“If ExxonMobil is open to an audit, why wasn’t this done? Why did the Coalition Government not audit the pre-contract costs before including it in the re-negotiated contract? Why was there no verification done? There was clearly no push-back from ExxonMobil. Given this state of affairs, there is reason for alarm regarding the quality of representation Guyanese received from the Coalition Government in this re-negotiation,” Jagdeo declared.Jagdeo recalled that he had, in June, declared that fair questions had been asked by civic-minded Guyanese about the pre-contract costs. He reiterated his call for these questions to be answered.“I reiterate my call for the Government to resist its proclivity towards secrecy and ensure that the answers to these questions are given,” he stated.