Guyana seen as better option than Venezuela, in Biden’s bid to lower US gas prices

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Miami Herald columnist, Andres Oppenheimer says that if President Joe Biden of the United States wants to lower gas prices there, he would be better off negotiating with Guyana, rather than Venezuela.

“President Biden recently sent a team of senior U.S. officials to Caracas for talks with Venezuelan dictator Nicolás Maduro about a possible oil deal to help bring down gas prices in America,” Oppenheimer wrote in a Wednesday column. “But Biden should instead be sending his envoys to a Venezuelan neighbor that could become a much more promising U.S. oil supplier: Guyana.”

The famed journalist explained that Guyana’s projected development through 2025 will see daily production levels skyrocket to 800,000 barrels per day. It is also notable that Guyana intends to have ExxonMobil pipe gas to shore to meet domestic power generation needs by 2024, with excess supply for its neighbours.

Oppenheimer noted that Guyana’s oil discoveries are set to make the country one of Latin America’s biggest producers over the next five years but posited however that the United States government seems to be using its influence at the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) to block Guyana’s efforts to develop its resources.

Executive Director at Guyana Shore Base Inc. (GYSBI), Robert Muneshwar, reportedly told the Guyanese daily, Stabroek News, that the IDB denied the company a US$180 million loan in October, a move that has implications for Guyana’s development trajectory. The company sought the funding to facilitate its expansion to serve the industry in Guyana but was reportedly denied due to a pivotal US vote.

Stabroek News said chief financial officer at GYSBI, Robert Albiez described the two-year process GYSBI went through to get the loan, which included “a great deal of due diligence” including environmental considerations.

Oppenheimer noted that officials close to the negotiations say US-backed loans for Guyana’s oil industry were conditional on the country adopting relatively high environmental standards. He posited, considering this, that Venezuela’s current oil industry is an environmental disaster.

He also mentioned that those same officials spoke of the likelihood that China’s influence in Guyana could grow if the United States does not support the development of Guyana’s petroleum sector.

After developments which followed the exploratory talks United States officials first had with Maduro earlier this month, Oppenheimer is doubtful that there will be any deal between the two countries for increased oil supply.

“If Biden is considering sending his team of negotiators back to Venezuela for a new round of talks, he should order them to change their airline tickets right away, and have them fly to Guyana,” Oppenheimer said.

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