Prime Minister: “Petroleum Ordinance to parliament in April”
WILLEMSTAD – Prime Minister Ivar Asjes hopes to have all the recommendations so that the oil ordinance can be sent to parliament by April of this year.
Furthermore, the Prime Minister believes that the meeting of parliament on the establishment of Oil and Gas Company (KPG), held this week, was unnecessary and premature. A motion of the MFK-party and Independent MP, Omayra Leeflang to commission the government to stop with the operations part until the petroleum ordinance has been approved by parliament, was not adopted during the meeting.
With a treatment of the petroleum ordinance by the Parliament of Curaçao, the search for oil and gas under the seabed in the territorial waters of Curaçao can finally start. A process that has lasted too long. “Curaçao runs two to three years behind Aruba regarding this,” says Asjes. MFK and Leeflang indicated that the meeting was necessary because it was the first time parliament was officially informed on the establishment of the Oil and Gas Company. Furthermore, the MFK believes that the government is still not transparent, says party leader Gerrit Schotte. The fact that parliament did not get a copy of the loan agreement between KPG and Refineria di Kòrsou (RdK) was an annoyance for the faction.
Leeflang wonders why KPG need to borrow one million guilders if they are unable to do anything until the oil ordinance is approved by parliament. “Something stinks. Something smells rotten in Denmark”, said the MP.
According to the Prime Minister there is no approval for the loan application by KPG, thus he can’t hand over a loan agreement to parliament. He agreed with a majority in parliament that the meeting did not make much sense. All information that was requested by parliament during the meeting, was provided on November 17 last year based on questions made by PAR MP Zita Jesus-Leito, said Asjes.
The Prime Minister also refused to acknowledge that the government has not acted transparently in the process to get to the exploration for oil and gas. According to Asjes, the government announced the plans to establish KPG in the press, and once KPG was established, it was also reported in the press. Also, the consultant corporate governance was already informed last September about the plans for the creation of KPG and who the candidate director and members of the Supervisory Board were.
Asjes reiterated that the government will not sign any contract with companies for the exploration of oil and gas.
"KPG cannot do this, because the right to do this will have to be anchored in the petroleum ordinance and this has to be presented to parliament first."
Only when this law was approved by parliament, only then there will be a public tender to seek for those interested and who are willing to carry out exploration for oil and gas, says Asjes. KPG will perform preparatory work, such as drafting a prospectivity report.
The Prime Minister denounced that in the past, during the governments of PAR, contracts were signed and renewed without a petroleum ordinance. Also, former Prime Minister Schotte, held secret meetings with companies such as Total and ENI without a petroleum ordinance.
Asjes stated that there were already two-dimensional and three-dimensional researches performed in Aruba.
"Soon it will be known that there are test drillings in Aruba’s territorial waters."
Those investigations should also take place in Curaçao. If these studies show that there is oil or gas, the exploration should then start. There should be a division of the proceeds of this exploration because these companies have to invest a lot of money in these researches, says Asjes.