Guyana discoveries redefining Caribbean region’s oil potential – Dr. Anthony Bryan

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With 18 discoveries offshore Guyana equating to nine billion barrels of recoverable oil resources, the record-making results of oil exploration in the South American country has resulted in the re-examination of the Caribbean region as an oil-rich area.

This is according to Honorary Senior Fellow with the Institute of International Relations at the University of the West Indies and Senior Associate of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), Dr. Anthony Bryan. Speaking recently on a webinar, Dr. Bryan examined the history of oil exploration in the Caribbean and the impact of the discoveries in Guyana on the perception of the region.

Dr. Anthony Bryan

“In the history of oil in the Caribbean, only Trinidad, Cuba, Suriname, Venezuela and Columbia were the oil producers of the Southern Caribbean. Others operated oil refineries. Trinidad drilled its first well in 1857 and because of fuel demands, we were in world war one and world war two, and it rapidly emerged as the Caribbean’s major oil producer,” he said.

South American basin with abundant oil resources giving rise to fierce competition

He also reflected on 2015, the year that the first discovery offshore Guyana—at Liza One—was announced, saying that it was in that period of time that “there was a rush for the frontier provinces of oil and gas in the Caribbean.”

At present, Dr. Bryan said, Guyana and Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago are the oil producers in the CARICOM block of nations, when it was previously mainly Trinidad and Tobago.

“What the Guyana discovery has done is to provoke deeper interest in the region. And I’m mentioning this point here because it’s going to be part of my conclusion that the Bahamas, Jamaica, Grenada, are all moving to step up exploration,” he stated. In fact, the Guyana discoveries have caused a shift in the activities within the region.

According to Dr. Bryan, “Since 2015, a series of world-class discoveries made by ExxonMobil off the coast of Guyana is forcing a recalibration of petroleum reserves in the Guyana Suriname Basin. The whole area appears to be characterized by excellent quality reservoirs in deep and shallow waters.”


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