GEORGETOWN, Guyana (AP) — Guyana’s government on Thursday prepared to sell its first barrels of oil after the discovery of large quantities of oil and gas near the South American country’s coast nearly five years ago.
The Department of Energy called the shipment a historic event, saying Guyana expects to receive four more shipments this year as part of a deal with ExxonMobil Corp and partners including Hess Corp. The boat set sail from Guyana overnight and is bound for Barbados, where it will be sold to markets including the U.S.
Energy Department Director Mark Bynoe said he expected Guyana to directly earn $300 million from its share of oil sales this year, with Guyana receiving 52 percent of profits as part of a 2016 deal.
“This has been quite a momentous occasion,” he said.
The offshore fields are estimated to contain one of the world’s largest reserves at more than 8 billion barrels. The revenue is expected to generate an estimated $168 billion over the life of the project, representing 120 times Guyana’s annual budget.
Exxon and its partners have already sold their own shipments of similar size since production began in late December.
The shipment comes just weeks before Guyana holds general elections on March 2, with the opposition People’s Progressive Party saying it would seek to renegotiate oil concessions.
Oil and gas are expected to overtake gold, sugar, rice and timber as Guyana’s main exports.
Guyana’s GDP Biggest since 2014
GEORGETOWN, Guyana (CMC) – Guyana’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) expanded by 4.7 percent in 2019 – the biggest growth, since 2014.
This was disclosed by Finance Minister, Winston Jordan, as spoke at a sod-turning ceremony for the proposed Hilton Hotel in East Coast Demerara.
“While there has been positive growth from 2015, economic growth has been cumulative since 2017, moving from 2.1 percent in that year, to 3.8 percent in 2018, and to 4.7 percent last year. The growth recorded last year was more than the projected 4.6 percent,” the Minister said.
The growth was fueled by the oil and gas sector investments and the performance of traditional industries.
Last year’s expansion, Jordan said, was despite the sugar and bauxite industries not showing their usual performance, adding that the former dependency on the performance of a few commodities, over the years, has shifted, with the positive growth resulting from successes in the rice, construction and tourism industries.
“We need to recognise the performance of those sectors…it comes on the heels of positive performances, despite yearly challenges … Guyana continues to grow, and except the year we had one percent growth, every year we had growth above three percent.”
Jordan noted that the performance was a result of the coalition government’s strategic plans and investments, including a regime, attractive enough to both local and foreign investors, which resulted in continuous investments.
He added that the coalition government would continue to create conditions to ensure that businesses make profits, establish regulations protecting the environment and workers, and grow the economy.
New York-based stock market, NASDAQ, has listed Guyana as the fastest growing economy in the world, with a projected growth rate of 16.3 percent, from 2018-2021.
Those projections are contained in a report from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which stated that Guyana’s real GDP is expected to grow by approximately 86 percent in 2020, almost 20 times more than the projected 4.4 percent growth for this year.