Guyana's ministry -natural resources
could absorb the energy department
Vickram Bharrat, Guyana's new Minister of Natural Resources
By Canute James/Argus
Petroleumworld 08 11 2020
Guyana's new natural resources minister is computer scientist Vickram Bharrat, a key appointment for the rapidly expanding oil sector.
Bharrat, who is part of the administration of President Irfaan Ali that was inaugurated on 8 August, could assume an expanded portfolio if the ministry absorbs the energy department that was established under the previous government.
Bharrat replaces Raphael Trotman of former president David Granger's government that oversaw the advent of Guyana's offshore oil development led by ExxonMobil in the deepwater Stabroek block.
Following a protracted post-election impasse with the Granger government, the new Ali administration will serve to 2025, the year ExxonMobil projects output of 750,000 b/d. Using today's figures, that production level would rank Guyana roughly on par with Colombia, which is currently South America's second-largest producer behind Brazil.
Production of 32.1°API Liza crude from Stabroek is currently around 100,000 b/d, according to the energy department, and is supposed to reach 120,000 b/d this month,says ExxonMobil partner Hess.
Up to now, the energy department has managed day-to-day oil sector responsibilities. The department is headed by Mark Bynoe, who often acts as an oil sector spokesman for the government. He remains in office for now.
The new Ali administration is considering whether to maintain the department or shift its responsibilities to the natural resources ministry, Bharrat said.
Bharrat starts his term as Guyana prepares to award a one-year contract to market the government's share of Liza crude . The successful bidder will handle a minimum of five 1mn bl cargoes of Liza crude in 2020-21.
"The technical and financial proposals from 19 shortlisted bidders are currently being evaluated and we hope to be in a position to announce an award as soon as possible," Bynoe told Argus last week.
"With a new administration in place we will have to give some consideration for it to be fully briefed."
Bharrat is also tasked with delivering on a campaign promise to increase royalties on production-sharing contracts that were concluded after ExxonMobil's deal. "There must be no doubt that our country, our nation, our people are the beneficiaries of the oil and gas industry," Ali said in his inauguration speech.
A royalty increase would impact Chevron and European firms Total, Repsol, Eni and Tullow – none of which has reacted publicly to the government's plan.