OTC 2024: Guyana is a regional powerhouse eyeing the world stage

Olivia Kabell, Associate Editor, World Oil May 10, 2024

Discussions of Guyana’s future as a regional—and global—powerhouse were at center stage in a discussion panel at OTC 2024.  Featured speakers included Kester Hutson and Richard Rambarran of the Georgetown (Guyana) Chamber of Commerce and Industry; Alistair Routledge of ExxonMobil Guyana; and Deodat Indar and Peter Ramsaroop—Minister within Guyana’s Natural Resources Ministry and the head of the Guyana Office of Investment, respectively.  From the private sector to government involvement, the panel dove into the optic of Guyana’s “outsized role” to play in the global oil and gas industry, despite the country’s small geographic size.

Massive resources. Kester Hutson opened the panel, describing the initial 2015 discovery of Guyana’s reserves as a “monumental shift in economic fortunes” for the country. The pace of progress has been swift, with efforts underway to achieve 1.2-MMbopd production by 2030.  The country also aims to establish a “monumental” gas project to make use of the natural gas resources and cut domestic electricity costs—a move that would pave the way for other projects and industry activity.

Development details. Alistair Routledge took the stage next, shifting the conversation into more specifics of production and upcoming projects offshore Guyana on the part of ExxonMobil—one of the earliest majors offshore Guyana. Routledge has high hopes for the future of Guayana’s industry, predicting that the country could be the largest producer in South America—second only to Brazil—within the next decade. Even so, ExxonMobil’s focus has been on the Yellowtail, Uaru and Whiptail projects for the present, the latter two of which mark the company’s fifth and sixth projects in the region. 

The Yellowtail project includes a new FPSO, which is expected to come online in 2025, and joins the existing FPSOs—Liza Destiny, Liza Unity and Prosperity—as the company’s fourth vessel in the region. While Routledge only touched briefly on the details of the Uaru project, he had a prospective start date for the more recently announced Whiptail project: end-2027. The cumulative production of all six projects is estimated at 1.3 MMbopd, once they are operational. Routledge also noted the addition of 500 km of new flowlines on the seabed and over 250 new wells by the time all six projects are operational.

Financial strategy. Following Routledge, Peter Ramsaroop shifted the conversation to Guyana’s strategy for the country’s recent influx of revenue. He was emphatic that “the Dutch disease doesn’t apply to Guyana,” and he displayed strong optimism for the country’s current “tiger economy.”  GDP growth seems to support the tiger economy labelling, with 60% growth in 2023 and a projected 43% growth or 2024—11% of which, Ramsaroop pointed out, is non-oil growth.  He emphasized that in future conversations about climate, food and energy security, Guyana would “have a seat at the table,” and Ramsaroop cited various investments into infrastructure—including hotels, scholarships and hospitals—as evidence of the country’s dedication to create a stable environment for investment.  As Routledge touched on earlier, Ramsaroop also mentioned the country’s future plans to make use of natural gas resources to cut power costs by 50%, as soon as end-2025.

Maintaining the swift pace. Deodat Indar, Minister within the Guyana Ministry of Public Works, shared similar sentiments, emphasizing the pace of accelerated growth that Guyana is undertaking in the pursuit of oil and gas and other infrastructure projects.  He mentioned the recent approval of Whiptail as one example, and he referenced future drilling prospects that had garnered interest from such companies as QatarEnergies, among others.  The swift pace, he said, was akin to cramming “30 years of development into three.” In closing, Indar made a point to mention briefly recent claims by Venezuela on Guyanese offshore territories.  Though he did not go into great detail, he mentioned prior agreements in place and did not indicate that the claims would affect current projects.

The panel was, on the whole, focused on a largely positive outlook for Guyana’s future oil and gas industry.  Routledge, in particular, seemed to indicate that Guyana’s future would begin expanding into the gas sector as soon as next year, with an existing oil industry that has the potential to continue expanding operations.  Guyana’s government, meanwhile, seems optimistic on turning this revenue into infrastructure that could support industry operations for years to come.

Connect with World Oil
Connect with World Oil, the upstream industry's most trusted source of forecast data, industry trends, and insights into operational and technological advances.