Drive to ensure most gains from oil continues


The meeting between local partners and the US delegation

Local partners who will determine how much we seek from possible production are meeting to learn from the experiences of the United States through a delegation led by manager Michael Stewart of the US Energy Governance and Access Programme.

They include officials from the Ministry of Finance, Trade and Investment, the Seychelles Investment Bureau and the Central Bank of Seychelles.

Besides there having been several workshops by US teams for the same purpose, PetroSeychelles has also consulted other producers “because the company does not need to reinvent the wheel”, said its chief executive Eddy Belle.

“We want them to share their experience regarding how to develop our hydrocarbons potential,” he said.

“We also want Seychelles to benefit rather than repeat mistakes of some producer nations.
“The various countries and agencies are telling us ‘we make mistakes here and there and we think this is the best way to avoid such mistakes’.”

The partners are looking at how to minimise negative effects on the environment, the best methods of taxing or charging royalties to international oil companies while attracting investors and how best to charge rent in given fields (zones) to such IOCs which the experts said is a good way to ensure they limit their stay to only the productive period which the experts nevertheless said usually spans several decades.

Oil discovery in the African region made Seychelles more attractive given the risen hopes of similar finds here, and this country was therefore happy to redraft its proposed agreements after consultations with organisations like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund to make the accords stronger and more beneficial.

Mr Belle said good recommendations emerged from the consultations which will be presented to the National Assembly to be turned into laws.

Mr Stewart said the US government’s energy governance and capacity initiative works with new oil and gas producers.

“We are at the moment working with eight countries we see emerging as producers – six of them being in Africa including Seychelles – with the aim of helping them manage their resource in geological terms and also the physical terms.”

He said it has been evident that some countries benefit more than others especially with regard to the level of corruption there might be.

“We try to eliminate corruption through the planning of the government before the resource and the money hits the table.

“It is in everybody’s interest to have stable producers throughout the world,” he said.