Guyana has tapped former Alberta premier Alison Redford to help develop its fledgling oil and gas sector.
The former British colony located on the northern coast of South America has tasked a team led by Redford to review ExxonMobil’s offshore Payara Project that’s expected to produce 750,000 barrels per day by 2026.
Her appointment comes at a time of political turbulence in the country of 800,000 following disputed election results and a demand from Washington that the governing party of President David Granger step aside.
ExxonMobile says that political wrangling has delayed approval of its project.
Redford has attended a number of energy sector conferences in the country in recent years and has called for transparency in how the industry is operated and regulated.
Guyana’s oversight agencies have raised concerns about the energy giant’s third project in the country and sought an expanded review to ensure the country receives the maximum benefit from the industry.
Critics contend Redford’s Progressive Conservative Party mismanaged the development and revenue generation of its own energy industry, paving the way for today’s strained government coffers and an underperforming Heritage Savings Trust Fund.
But in an Aug. 15 statement announcing the appointment, Guyana’s Ministry of Natural Resources notes Redford’s extensive experience in economic consulting on the international stage.
“She has worked in several bilateral and multilateral projects particularly in the energy sector regulation and has worked in multiple countries on behalf of the United Nations, the Commonwealth and the European Union,” it states.
“(Her team) also have a vast knowledge in the field of policies and legal framework that supports accountability and transparency within the petroleum sector.”
Guyana began producing petroleum last year and is hoping the new industry will significantly alter the country’s economic trajectory.
The ministry said the work by Redford’s team will “include environmental standards and reservoir management which is about managing how resources are developed to ensure the interests of the people of Guyana…”
Redford served as Alberta’s premier from 2011 to 2014 and left under a cloud of scandal involving questionable travel expenditures and other spending.
Guyanese critics of her appointment have cited those controversies, but the country’s Natural Resources Minister Vickram Bharrat has called that unfair and their Alberta origins politically-motivated.
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