Oil has unleashed a tsunami of opportunities in South America’s lone English-speaking nation

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Nestled on the northern tip of South America, the small nation of Guyana, now the fastest growing economy in the world, will become the continent’s second biggest oil producer by 2027. The massive success the country has seen in recent years is a direct result of huge oil and gas resources discovered by U.S. oil major, ExxonMobil, since 2015.

Speaking at the annual awards and induction ceremonial dinner of the Guyana Oil and Gas Energy Chamber (GOGEC) on Friday, the country’s president, Dr. Irfaan Ali, touched on a few of the key developments made possible because of the country’s newfound oil wealth.  

“…More than 80% of all the new hotels that are being built now… the Marriott Courtyard, the Aiden [Western] brand… My question is, without all the oil and gas sector, will we [have] those more than 11 hotels under construction? Without the oil and gas sector, [would] we even be having the thousands of rooms and apartments that are being created? Without the oil and gas sector, would we have had the consortium that is building a shore base at Vreed-en-Hoop?” Ali asked the gathering. 

At the annual awards and induction ceremonial dinner of the Guyana Oil and Gas Energy Chamber (GOGEC), President Ali touched on a few of those key developments made possible because of its newfound wealth.

Among the major developments Ali also mentioned was the Guyana Shore Base Inc. (GYSBI), the first such facility in the country. Formed in 2017 to service the rapidly increasing operations offshore, GYSBI secured a five-year contract with Exxon, with only eight acres of land, two berths, and just one warehouse at Houston/McDoom on Guyana’s East Bank Corridor. The company now occupies more than 170 acres with eight warehouses in total and six berths. It also has a US$250 million expansion project planned

“[Plus] two other shore bases being built…  the quantum of sand we are utilizing on two projects alone in Region 3 is what we used for the last 10 years combined. And it has to be supplied in one year. [These opportunities] did not drop from heaven. We thank God for it. It is a spin-off of the oil and gas sector,” he continued. 

Ali was proud to highlight another success story: the Guyanese consortium of local caterers, tapping into the oil and gas sector. Recently, the consortium purchased a substantial equity stake in Newrest Guyana, the country’s premier offshore caterer and food supplier. 

Opportunity abounds in the sector, according to Ali. He underscored that “a piece of the cake is better than none of the cake,” and added that collaboration through consortiums is the way to succeed. 

The President announced that the government is pouring millions into ensuring that every Guyanese also get a slice. He said training opportunities will soon be available for 2,000 Guyanese in nearshoring, seeing an investment of US$10 million being made. 

“We are going to train them at different skill levels for nearshoring jobs. We are going to ensure they get the certification. We are going to invest in that for them, and then we are going to go to ExxonMobil and say to them, ‘You will have to bring 2,000 of those jobs here for these 2,000 young people we have trained and certified to take those nearshoring jobs,” he said.

Guyana made its first oil discovery in 2015 in the Stabroek block. Since then, ExxonMobil – the operator, and its partners Hess and CNOOC, have made over 40 more discoveries. It currently has three developments producing oil with two more in tow. The oil production activities have propelled Guyana to become the fastest-growing economy in the world. 

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