OPPOSITION Senator Taharqa said he was “mortified” that the Energy Ministry cannot currently verify production data from oil and gas extraction companies.
He was speaking yesterday as the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) met with the Auditor General’s Department at the Parliament building, Port of Spain on the report for the period 2017.
PAC Vice Chairman Taharqa Obika said the report included the Energy Ministry’s inability to determine the veracity of production data submitted by the oil and gas extraction companies and asked for the department’s opinions on the issue. Deputy Auditor General Lorelly Pujadas said the situation still stands but the Energy Ministry was seeking to develop instruments to be able to better calibrate the data to have better informed production data coming forward.
Acting Audit Executive II Brian Caesar said the Energy Ministry has made some attempts to address the situation.
“However to date they have not really been any tangible changes as far as verifying that production data.”
He said the Energy Ministry still depend on the honour system where the oil and gas or quarrying operators would submit production data and the ministry would do calculations.
“You can’t manage properly what is not measured. If the ministry is not doing proper measurements therefore we are not in a position to determine what is the real revenue as far as royalties concerned that are supposed to be accrued to the ministry. So that honour system, we have told them about it, and there still in a process where they have to come to some better arrangement as far as determining the truthfulness of production data from the extractive companies.”
Obika said industry practitioners have said energy companies dissuade people from within their structure from measuring wells below certain volumes.