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18 Mar 2021

Petroleum Commission Bill to be tabled in a matter of weeks – Minister Bharrat

Minister of Natural Resources, Vickram Bharrat, announced yesterday that the independent regulator the government promised to establish for the oil sector – the Petroleum Commission – will be established soon, during his ministerial opening address of the Guyana Basins Summit. He noted in an interview with the Guyana Basins Summit, that the Petroleum Commission Bill will be tabled in the National Assembly, in a matter of weeks.

According to the website of the Guyana Basins Summit, “The new administration has also announced plans to provide greater legal and regulatory security to investors through the creation of a petroleum commission.”

Bharrat is quoted as saying that the Commission is needed so it can “manage this emerging sector without political interference.”

It is expected to “depoliticise” the management of a sector that has so far been managed directly by politicians.

The Commission, according to Bharrat, will oversee the implementation of new regulations such as minimum local content requirements.

Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall, told Kaieteur Radio during an interview with Guyana’s Oil & You host, Kiana Wilburg, “The Bill is at the Ministry of Natural Resources and it is being actively considered by a Legal Department within that Ministry. That Department is working closely with the Chief Parliamentary Counsel attached to the Attorney General Chambers and I know that the changes that we would like to see in the Bill are being looked at right now, examined with a view of incorporating them.”

Vice President, Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo, has said, “We want a Petroleum Commission made up of technical people with an independent board to manage the oil and gas sector.”

This has been the driving principle for the People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C), especially as it criticised efforts made by the previous administration to draft the Bill. The David Granger administration’s Bill had included issues criticised as giving the subject Minister too much control.

Nandlall had said during the Kaieteur Radio interview that the Bill was before the Parliamentary Special Select Committee in 2019, when Parliament was dissolved for the holding of the 2020 elections.

“…That bill suffered grave and several deficiencies and we were very critical of it,” he said.

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