CARICOM describes Guyana’s current political situation as democracy at work
The Secretary General of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Irwin LaRocque, has said the ongoing legal and political situation in Guyana shows that the “democratic process is at work”.
Last month, then government back bencher, Charrandass Persaud, voted with the main opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP) in a successful motion of no confidence against the David Granger-led coalition A Partnership for National Unity (APNU).
The PPP has since called for fresh regional and general elections by March in keeping with the provisions of the Guyana Constitution. But the government has gone to court challenging the validity of the vote in the 65-member National Assembly. On Tuesday, Chief Justice Roxane George-Wiltshire said she intends to give a ruling by the end of this month, regarding the three matters challenging the validity of the December 21, 2018 motion of no confidence that led to the downfall of the coalition government.
LaRocque, who was asked by reporters about CARICOM’s position on the unfolding situation, said “we have to allow the democratic process to work”.
“We have been observing, we have been looking on and watching on, but the democratic process is at work.”
He said that with the matter now before the courts, the process should be allowed to run its course.
“The matter is before the courts and I think we should allow the discussion and litigation to go through and see what the outcome is. I am sure the court in its wisdom and all of the other peers that may be possible will rule appropriately. My concern is that it be done swiftly, that the matter is before the court and let the court act swiftly,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) said it is alarmed by recent media reports that it was preparing for elections in June.
“The Guyana Defence Force wishes to advise the public that we have not authorised any such release or made any such pronouncements. The Guyana Defence Force is aware that we are not the authority for specifying the date and or time by which elections should be held.
“Any Force will always have intelligent anticipation of tasks likely to be undertaken. These tasks once identified are issued to the subordinates as “Warning Orders” alerting them to the nature of the probable tasks and should not be misconstrued to mean anything else.”
The GDF said that it has “always respected the rule of law and due process, and will continue to maintain a professional Force which contributes to the development of the nation”.
Tullow advances Guyana drilling after Exxon find
Tullow Oil has brought forward its drilling programme in Guyana, where Exxon Mobil has racked up discoveries of billions of barrels.
The Dublin-listed company originally planned to start drilling wells at the end of this year, but is now set to begin in the second quarter because of the excitement over Exxon’s nearby discoveries, Tullow CEO Paul McDade has said.
“We felt it would be good to try and accelerate the programme,” he said.
While Tullow acquired new licences off Ivory Coast, Suriname, Comoros and Peru in 2018, its focus this year will be on Guyana – where Exxon has found five billion barrels of recoverable oil.
In a trading update yesterday Tullow, which was founded 34 years ago by Aidan Heavey, said it will drill the Jethro prospect in the second quarter of 2019 as the first of two planned wells on the Orinduik block in Guyana.
A prospect called Carapa will be tested on the Kanuku licence, also in Guyana, in the third quarter of this year.
Tullow expects production to be in the region of 93,000-101,000 barrels of oil per day in 2019.
This is an increase on the 88,200 barrels of oil per day produced by the company in 2018, the majority of which came from the Ghanaian fields.
Tullow plans to drill seven wells in Ghana this year, where it estimates output will eventually reach as much as 180,000 barrels a day.
Increasing production in Ghana means it will likely remain Tullow’s output hub, though a discovery in Guyana could create another focus area, Mr McDade said.
The company has around a 20pc chance of making a significant discovery in Guyana, Tullow’s director of exploration Angus McCoss said in November.
The group said yesterday that full-year revenue for 2018 is expected to be around $1.8bn (€1.6bn).
Tullow expects gross profit to be approximately $1.1bn (€961m) for 2018.
Tullow had free cash flow of about $410m in 2018, which was slightly lower than previous guidance, due to ongoing talks with the Government of Uganda to finalise the sale of its stake in a project there, which is now expected to be completed in the first half of 2019.
Meanwhile, net debt at year-end was approximately $3.1bn, gearing the company at 1.9 times.
Job Langbroek, analyst at Davy Stockbrokers, said that while the guidance from Tullow ensured there were no real surprises, “the update underlines the fact that better oil prices and a growing production profile builds significant cash flows.”
“Moreover, future scheduled production growth from discovered resources is substantial. All this is a platform for the re-start of the new ventures business in the group,” Mr Langbroek added.