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Exxon Rebuts APNU's Claim of an "Agreement" to Lower US$214M Cost Oil Disputes

Special Reporter, Georgetown, Guyana

ExxonMobil, the oil giant, has firmly denied the allegations made by the Opposition A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) that it informed them during a meeting about an agreement with the Government to reduce the contentious cost oil claims from US$214 million to US$3 million.

Alistair Routledge, the President of ExxonMobil Guyana, clarified during a press conference that when his company met with the Opposition, it was merely out of courtesy to explain that they were in the process of seeking a reduction in these costs.

Alistair Routledge, President, ExxonMobil Guyana

Routledge explained that the September 8 meeting with the Opposition was part of Exxon's open-door policy and its desire to engage with various political and stakeholder groups. However, he emphasized that at no point did they convey that an agreement had been reached to lower the costs.

"I provided a commentary to the Opposition's leadership, explaining that we have been involved in a process, as described, with the Ministry's working level. We believe we have provided documentation to significantly address the issues raised in the initial draft audit. However, I did not state that we had finalized an agreement authorized by the GRA (Guyana Revenue Authority) or the Ministry," Routledge stated.

Routledge also clarified who Exxon was communicating with on the Government's side during discussions on the cost oil audit and potential query reductions. He identified Senior Petroleum Coordinator Gopnauth "Bobby" Gossai at the Natural Resources Ministry as Exxon's highest-level contact regarding the audit.

While the Ministry was initially the designated point of contact, the Government expressed its preference for the GRA to serve as the primary contact. As a result, Exxon is now working closely with the GRA. The GRA has requested documentation to substantiate its queries about the cost oil figure highlighted in the audit. Failure to comply may lead to arbitration.

Exxon expressed regret that Gossai might face disciplinary action and mentioned that it cooperates with police investigations in foreign jurisdictions where it operates.

Aubrey Norton, Opposition Leader

Routledge sympathized with Gossai, stating that he had diligently supported the process but was caught in the middle. According to Routledge, Gossai worked with the best of intentions.

The Government announced that it would conduct a thorough investigation to determine who negotiated the reduction of the initial US$214 million sum, which was flagged in 2019 by the British firm IHS Markit during an audit of ExxonMobil's cost oil expenses incurred between 1999 and 2017 in Guyana.

Special Reporter, Georgetown, Guyana

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