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May 6, 2011

Petroleum analyst says public needs to be on guard

On Tuesday we told you that the Coalition to Save Our Natural Heritage had engaged Rick Steiner, a renowned US oil expert, to assess the oil industry in Belize. Steiner, who says his assignment is pro bono, has concluded that oil and gas development is not compatible with protected areas.  Well, a second expert, Richard Fineberg, an independent oil analyst from Alaska, with equal credentials, arrived in Belize less than forty-eight hours ago and he says he is already detecting inconsistencies at play in the industry and that there is a disturbing lack of information. Fineberg says his trip to Belize is a short one and while he won’t be able to cover all that needs to be examined closely, he believes the public needs to be on guard because he is already sensing discrepancies in production, revenues and profits which do not augur well for Belizeans.

Richard Fineberg, Independent Oil Analyst, Fairbanks, Alaska

Richard Fineberg

“Given that the production is so small it is so it is an unusual situation and the costs on how you portion your costs on what is revenue and to be  shared, the difference  between the price of oil and the cost is what the public and B.N.E., there is a natural tension between the two. With all respects they bring in that revenue they want to keep as much as they can, that’s their jobs. The responsibility to their investors, we have public responsibility to the public. I have been so surprised that just generally talking to informed people I thought we were producing two and a half million barrels a year, the number I was told in the Petroleum Inspector’s office is one and a half million barrels,  that’s a million less barrels generating revenue. Basically I found that the people I’ve spoken to do not seem to have full understanding of the Production Share Agreement, the P.S.A., and the details of that or where the rubble meets the road and is precisely what you need information on as to how the costs are allocated to determine what is the cost  and what is the revenue, actual profit  or net revenue to be shared, the  remainder of which doesn’t go to the Government is the net profit for the industry.”

Andrea Polanco

“Who are some of the people you spoke with so far?”

Richard Fineberg

“We met a group of us met with the Petroleum, uh, the inspector of Petroleum and the Government, that is the only formal meeting we’ve had so far. We met with various people informally we spoke with several people who work for the industry and discuss the matters with them and learnt some of the background. The issue is that the industry tries to maximize its revenue  here in partnership with an industry in order to maximize your revenue from the people’s resource. There’s a natural conflict between the two at least a tension, we can call it a tension between the two which sometimes aids conflicts. The bottom line is that the public should be expecting more public information. My experience has been that when there is confidentiality and you don’t have information bad things happen.  I can only tell you that your situation looks to be a very unusual one and it means the public should be on guard and should know what its government is doing.”

Fineberg, who is expected to leave the country in a few days, said he will be writing a summary report on his findings which will be submitted to the Coalition.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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9 Responses for “Petroleum analyst says public needs to be on guard”

  1. Lucas says:

    I have always suspected that BNE in cahoot with the govt. are taking the Belizean people for a ride and, I would not be surprised if later it is revealed, that govt. officials are taking petroleum kickbacks from BNE. Having said that, I am still for drilling but with accountability. If the so called coalitions would drop their anti-drilling stance and stand for accountability, I would support them. Let us not forget that the coalition is also getting kickbacks from someone. If not, how do they pay their utility and food bills, drive around and buy plane tickets etc. etc. The problem is not BNE but the ones paid to look after our share. THE GOVT.

  2. Earl Grey says:

    Instead of Nationalizing BTL…………………

    AND WE NEED TO BUILD A REFINERY TOO…….RUN BY THE GOVERNMENT to reduce taxes on us little people.

  3. BZNinCALI says:

    Thanks Mr . Fineberg, we are looking forward to your report. Our leaders have lied to us for so long, they have convinced themselves that up is down & down is up & are content to watch our country slide further into this bloody hell as long as their people can continue to feed the trendy shoppes in Miami & wherever else these parasites go to deposit our blood money.

  4. David says:

    NO oil exploration. people lets raise our voices. no exploration this will make a couple of millonairs in belize, but to the rest its disaster.

  5. BeWARE says:

    Is it unusual that the prices of fuel in Belize is exorbitant? Well, no doubt, some peeps who are in the’know how’ are most definately getting their share! Shod the public, who cares, right??? We Belizeans prefer to twist our mouth and say that ‘tings wa get betta!’ But It has not! So wat? mek we continue twist up we mouth! ……. For goodness sake! Wake up Belize!

  6. I Have Awaken says:

    And, David, don’t forget that many of these millionaires will have the financial capability to live in their ‘gated’ communities or run for the hills. Look at Johannesburg; where the super rich keep out the super poor with security systems that would rival the most sophisticated prison systems. BeWARE, indeed, WAKE UP BELIZE!

  7. Elgin Martinez says:

    We are govern by dictators.They are not going to listen to the Belizean people.It’s business as usual.

  8. Truths says:

    The very sad reality.. They give one crap about the people.. PLUS nothing the government takes a hold of or has his hand in it lives long before it goes into bankruptcy or different management takes over..

    There is no transparency none at all. We find out AFTER THE FACTS.. AFTER THEY CANT DRAIN IT ANYMORE OR INCREASE THEIR BANK ACT.

    How long will it take for US Belizeans to work together and ENFORCE THE GOVERNMENT With the needs of His people.. no matter if you are one party or the other.. GET THE FRIGGIN JOB DONE….

  9. rasman says:

    Nothing changes with the PUDP. They count for the handsome donation from BNE and other oil companies for their political campaigns. If you think they spend their hard earned dollars on their campaigns then you got to be a fool. Wake up b….

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