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Guyana changed fortunes thanks to oil

Talk to the newspaper Financial Times On the occasion of his visit to London (UK) last week, President Irfaan Ali said that Guyana is not only investing for the needs of the people in the country but also looking for foreign currency. As a result, Guyana can become a center of health and education for South America, the Caribbean and the diaspora living in North America.

Once a British colony with a population of 787,000, Guyana’s fortunes have completely changed since ExxonMobil (USA) discovered many large oil fields off the coast of this country in 2015.

This year, ExxonMobil and its partners – such as Hess Petroleum Company (USA) and China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) – plan to exploit to reach an output of 340,000 barrels per day.

According to President Irfaan Ali, Guyana’s oil production could exceed 1 million bpd in three years, increasing government revenue from nearly $4 billion in 2022 to $10 billion in 2025.

Guyana changed fortunes thanks to oil - Photo 1.

Ships carrying supplies for an ExxonMobil offshore oil rig on the coast of Guyana. Photo: REUTERS

Said to have the fastest growing economy in the world, Guyana is trying to avoid the “oil curse” with a long-term sustainable development strategy. In particular, transport infrastructure is an important factor, especially when this country is separated from neighboring countries by forests and rivers.

Guyana plans to build highways and bridges connecting Guyana with French Guiana, Suriname to the east and Brazil to the south. The transport network, along with a planned deep-water port on the Caribbean coast, opens up a transport corridor from northern Brazil to the Atlantic markets.

“We are in discussions with the Abu Dhabi Port Corporation (United Arab Emirates) about developing an important deep-water port in Guyana,” President Irfaan Ali said. He estimated the cost of building the port more than 2 billion USD.

As the oil industry grew, Guyana considered establishing a national oil company. However, President Irfaan Ali stressed that the company will operate as a business focused on new development, not taking over existing production from foreign operators.

Rapidly growing oil production means Guyana’s economy is forecast to grow 47% this year. According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), this is the fastest growth rate in the world, surpassing the rate of 20% in 2021 and 43% in 2020 also of Guyana. A sovereign wealth fund has been established to protect oil revenues for future generations.

In addition to oil, Guyana’s 18.5 million-hectare rainforest can support ecotourism and biodiversity hubs, as well as generate revenue from conservation.

“Many people don’t know that the forests of Guyana store 19.5 gigatons of carbon. That can bring in an income of almost $200 million annually through carbon credits and carbon markets,” said Mr. Irfaan Ali.

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