South America’s newest producer sits among top nations for oil reserves per capita – IMF report highlights 

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The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has underscored Guyana’s significant position among countries with the highest levels of oil reserves per capita worldwide, presenting a promising economic outlook compared to its historical trajectory.

Commercially recoverable petroleum reserves in Guyana now exceed 11 billion barrels, ranking third in Latin America and the Caribbean and establishing it as one of the global leaders in oil reserves per capita. Surpassing established oil-producing nations like Saudi Arabia, Norway, and Qatar, Guyana trails only Kuwait in this metric, a remarkable achievement considering its initial commercial oil discovery was as recent as 2015. The accumulation of 11 billion oil-equivalent barrels stems from ExxonMobil’s continued success in offshore exploration within the Stabroek block. Anticipated oil production growth to over one million barrels per day by 2027 is imminent with the forthcoming launch of three approved projects—Payara, Yellowtail, and Uaru.

In an evaluation ranking the present value of reserves against the 2021 gross domestic product (GDP) of significant oil producers, Guyana occupies the 9th position, surpassing countries such as Qatar, Oman, and Algeria but lagging behind leading nations like Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and others.

While Guyana stands 17th globally in proven petroleum reserves, its reserves per capita is significant when compared to nations like Kuwait, with a significantly smaller population of less than 800,000 residents as opposed to Kuwait’s 4.8 million.

The IMF predicts that Guyana’s reserves could endure over 40 years, presenting an opportunity to build substantial fiscal and external buffers, addressing infrastructure gaps, and human development needs. 

“The government plans to utilize oil revenues to fortify the growth of the non-oil economy, emphasizing initiatives such as investing in human capital, enhancing energy access, reducing energy costs, expanding transport infrastructure (including a highway to Brazil, bridges to neighboring countries, and deep-water ports), fortifying resilience against natural disasters and climate change, and amplifying value-added exports in sectors like agribusiness,” the report highlighted. 

This robust oil wealth has the potential to significantly transform Guyana’s economic landscape, facilitating comprehensive development and long-term sustainability.

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