Published:Wednesday | October 25, 2023 | 12:07 AM
The Guyana Revenue Authority, GRA, says it will not amend the audited costs for expenses relating to the Stabroek oil block controlled by ExxonMobil, despite objections from the American oil company.
The review relates to expenses incurred from 1999 to 2017.
“The authority wishes to categorically reiterate that it stands by its advice to the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Government of Guyana that the cost bank adjustment of US$214.4 million as reported in the Audit Report Recommendation Final by IHS Markit is the accepted final figure,” GRA Commissioner General Godfrey Statia said in a brief statement.
It followed comments earlier in October that a senior official of the Ministry of Natural Resources who “acted without the requisite authorisation” was to be disciplined following the controversy over a reduction in the audited expenses of oil and gas company Exxon Mobil Corporation.
The overall amount spent on exploration in the Stabroek Block from 1999 to 2017 was estimated at US$1.6 billion. If the company accepts that the disputed US$214 million should not be calculated as cost oil, it means that Guyana will be entitled to 50 per cent or US$107 million while the remainder will go to co-venturers ExxonMobil, Hess and China National Overseas Oil Company.
However, Alistair Routledge, CEO of Exxon Mobil Guyana Limited, EMGL, said the company has re-engaged London-based auditing firm IHS Markit to prove that as much as 90 per cent of the US$214 million could be accounted for based on its now stacked away 20-year-old records.
In his statement, Statia said he has noted the several statements in the press related to the above cost-oil audit, the most recent attributed to Routledge.
“Further the authority unequivocally states that its correspondence to IHS Markit seeking clarity to the said Audit Report Recommendation Final and copied to EMGL should in no way or form be construed as a change in the authority’s position that the cost bank Adjustment of US$214.4 million be adjusted, nor to re-open the process as intimated by the CEO of EMGL,” Statia added.
Natural Resource Minister Vickram Bharrat said that from the inception the government’s position has always been that the GRA is the sole and final authority to determine the final outcome in relation to the EEPGL Stabroek Block Cost Recovery Audit 1999-2017.
The ministry’s role, he added, is to oversee the process of conducting the audit and facilitate the exchange of information and documentation among the relevant parties, including the GRA.