Guyana’s Vice President, Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo, dispelled questions about whether Petrobras’ withdrawal from Guyana’s inaugural offshore licensing round is linked to the controversy surrounding Venezuela’s claim for Guyana’s territory.
“Absolutely not!” was his response when asked.
He argued that the Brazilian state oil producer’s decision was purely strategic, anchored in a focus on its own offshore drilling program in the Atlantic.
Dr. Jagdeo spoke with Petrobras officials during CERAWeek in Houston, where they disclosed their interest in exploring offshore in the Atlantic, east of Guyana, in Brazilian territory, the VP reiterated. Petrobras believes that the geology of the region presents a promising opportunity to emulate the success Exxon has enjoyed in Guyana’s oil-rich waters.
According to Jagdeo, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has shown substantial interest in Petrobras’ involvement in Guyana’s oil sector. “President Ali mentioned to me that the President of Brazil is very much interested in Petrobras’ participation here [in Guyana]. I don’t know in what form that will happen, but he’s very interested in it,” he said.
Petrobras, alongside Chevron and Shell, had previously expressed interest in participating in Guyana’s licensing round. Jagdeo had expressed the belief that Petrobras could bring substantial benefits to the Guyanese market. “We believe Petrobras is a big player, and we’d like them in our market too. We can benefit a lot from the training and expertise and everything else from Petrobras,” Jagdeo had said.
Guyana’s ongoing licensing round, which includes 14 blocks (11 shallow water and three deepwater), is scheduled to close submissions on July 15, with awards expected to be concluded by the end of the third quarter. Despite Petrobras’ decision not to participate, discussions between Presidents Ali and Lula suggest that future collaboration could still be on the horizon.
Petrobras is currently looking to focus its exploration efforts on the equatorial margin later this decade, as per reports from Norway’s Rystad Energy. The basins targeted by Brazil’s state explorer are expected to be Foz do Amazonas, Para- Maranhão, Barreirinhas, Ceará, and Potiguar.
It remains to be seen what form Petrobras’ potential participation in Guyana’s market may take. Jagdeo said Lula is “very interested in it. So when we meet with him further, or his people, we will explore that interest.”