New oil producer Guyana will continue to see growing interest from investors around the world looking to tap into the opportunities the offshore multi-billion-barrel hydrocarbon resources are providing. U.S Ambassador to Guyana, Sarah-Ann Lynch says now is the time for the country to move from being a raw producer to an exporter of value-added goods, as part of a major push to diversify the economy.
During her address at the Guyana Oil and Gas Virtual Summit last week, the Ambassador spoke of the opportunities that exist in South American country’s energy sector and the potential areas for collaboration between Guyanese and U.S. companies.
Pointing out projections by the IMF that the country’s economy will grow by 26.2% in 2020 while GDP will increase from 2019’s $4.2 billion to $5.3 billion this year, the Ambassador said that these results will be “making it the fastest growing economy in the world.”
As such, she said, “Guyana is on track to become the second or third largest oil producer in the western hemisphere over the next 20-40 years…. This truly is a unique situation: that a country of just 780,000 people discovers vast offshore deposits of high-quality oil, within five years begins extracting those deposits, and will – in short order – be mentioned in the same breath as Mexico and Brazil as the second or third largest oil and gas producer.”
“And what does that mean? That means that Guyana is open for business,” she added.
Acknowledging that the exploration and services sector of the oil and gas industry will have the biggest draw, the Ambassador told investors that there are significant opportunities in the renewable energy, financial, construction, and agricultural sectors.
“Guyana and the private sector must capitalize on this. If Guyana can advance from being a raw material producer to exporting more value-added goods, it will capitalize on a needed diversification of its economy,” she emphasised.
In order to further encourage investors, she said the government needs to improve the power generation capacity of the country as well as the cost of energy, as these are usually obstacles to industries. The Ambassador also pointed out what she described as a “slew of large infrastructure projects” the Government of Guyana intends to put out for tender in the coming weeks and months.
The projects being referred to are the $150 million high rise, four lane, Demerara Harbour Bridge, the construction of four international hotels, new highway construction and road expansion projects, a gas to shore power generation plant and a deep-water port.
“These are all sweeping changes and it will be crucial for the government, in concert with international partners, the private sector, and civil society to get it right,” she stressed.