Hess boss champions forest preservation at Guyana energy conference

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Chief Executive Officer of Hess Corporation, John Hess, discussed the company’s motivation for investing in Guyana’s forest preservation drive, at the International Energy Conference 2023, which opened in Georgetown on Tuesday.

“We are honoured to be Guyana’s partner in this,” Hess said. “I hope that the rest of the world wakes up to realise how important protecting the world’s forests are in terms of the net-zero aspiration the world has.”

He noted that avoiding global deforestation was a major commitment made at the COP26 climate summit. Guyana, in November 2021, had joined more than 100 world leaders in a sustainable land use pact in Glasgow, Scotland. The agreement involved commitments to sustainable land use and conservation of the world’s forests.

Hess said the protection of the world’s forests and recognising the role they play as natural carbon sinks is foundational to the Paris Agreement’s aim of limiting the global average temperature rise to well below 2 degrees Celsius. Demonstrating the gravity of this issue, the Hess chief said that deforestation and associated land degradation represent approximately 20% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions.

“For example, if deforestation were a country, in 2017, it would be the third highest emitter in the world. So, protecting the world’s forests are key to net-zero… Carbon credits provide financial incentives to preserve forests and biodiversity that are at risk to growing economic activities and demand for natural resources.” Hess said.

Hess is the first company to enter a deal to purchase carbon credits from Guyana, after Architecture for REDD+ Transactions (ART) started certifying Guyana’s credits. Hess has committed to purchasing carbon credits, with at least US$750 million expected to be paid to Guyana over a 10-year period. The first of these payments was made earlier this year, and will support the country’s 2023 budget.

Hess reminded that government has committed to set aside a portion of these earnings for use by Guyana’s Indigenous communities.

Hess is an international oil company (IOC) involved in exploration and production activities in Guyana’s offshore petroleum sector. It has stakes in the Stabroek and Kaieteur Blocks.

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