Guyana outranks Saudi Arabia, Norway, Qatar as country with world’s second highest oil reserves per capita

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Shikema Dey
Experienced Journalist with a demonstrated history of working in the media production industry and a keen interest in oil and gas, energy, public infrastructure, agriculture, social issues, development and the environment.

New oil producer Guyana now ranks second only to Kuwait on the list of countries with the highest oil reserves per capita, placing it ahead of producers like Saudi Arabia, Norway, and Qatar, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Guyana only had its first commercial oil discovery in 2015 but its reserves have reached an accumulated 11 billion oil-equivalent barrels as a result of ExxonMobil’s continued exploration success in the offshore Stabroek Block.

The IMF has Guyana positioned at 9th on a list that ranks the present value of reserves owned by high profile oil producers, as a percentage of their 2021 gross domestic product (GDP). In this regard, Guyana beats out Qatar, Oman and Algeria, but falls behind Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Libya, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Angola.

While Guyana ranks as 17th on the list with the largest proven petroleum reserves in the world, Kuwait comes in at 6th with a resource count of 104 billion barrels. But it is Guyana’s small population of less than 800,000, compared to Kuwait’s 4.8 million, that makes its reserves per capita stand out.

If Guyana is to surpass Kuwait on this metric, it would need to add roughly four billion more barrels in new discoveries. And such a feat seems possible. American Market Intelligence (AMI) Analyst, Arthur Deakin had said in February that the Stabroek Block alone is estimated to hold some 20 billion oil-equivalent barrels.

The Block’s operator, ExxonMobil, has been piling on barrels, with seven new discoveries already made so far this year. It is currently on a 25-well exploration campaign in the Stabroek Block set to end mid-2023.

But Exxon is also operator of Guyana’s Kaieteur and Canje Blocks. Soon, it will embark on a 24-well campaign in those blocks. And there is a high possibility that it will make more finds there, breaking even more records for Guyana.

The country already has the 3rd highest reserves in Latin America – Caribbean Region, and more than 10% of the world’s conventional resource finds since 2015.

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