Guyana focused on its own sustainable development rather than becoming the “next Dubai” – Pres. Ali

President Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali meets Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates, and Ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

Making it clear that Guyana is more focused on its own sustainable development rather than becoming the “next Dubai”, President Dr Irfaan Ali says that the increased revenue that will come with ramped-up oil production will allow for accelerated development in the country.

He made this statement on Wednesday, during the Global Business Forum LATAM that is being held in Dubai under the patronage of Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

While sharing a stage with UAE Minister of State for Foreign Trade, Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Ali said that Guyana wanted even more oil and gas exploration to be done in its waters. And with ExxonMobil expected to ramp up oil production to 1.2 million barrels a day by 2025, the President noted that this would mean more revenue for Guyana’s development.

“We’re looking to move up to 1.2 million barrels per day within the next three, four years. That, of course, is going to help us accelerate development in other areas. And people always say, Guyana has the potential to be (the next) Dubai. That is not what we’re aiming for,” the Head of State said during a panel discussion themed “Lessons in diversification and partnership” at the Dubai Exhibition Centre.

“We want to be the best we can be, learn from the examples of the UAE. Taking the best practices from the UAE. We’re not in competition with anyone. And we don’t want to be in a race with anyone. And this is our global position. We just want to use the best practices to do the best we can do, for our people,” he said.

Reference was also made to the development of a deepwater harbour port with Abu Dhabi Ports in collaboration with Brazil that will give access to the Atlantic, a visa-free waiver programme, and a double taxation agreement.

Dr Ali also used the opportunity to talk up Guyana’s natural resources and their value. He also gave some insight into why Guyana, a resource-rich country, has not been able to develop on par with some of its peers, including those with comparatively fewer natural resources.

“Guyana, as you know, we have forests the size of England, with a forest storing 19 giga tonnes of carbon. And an estimated value in the carbon market of close to US$200 billion. We have a forestry sector with a value of $500 billion in reserve. We have proven gold reserves with a value of more than US$35 billion. We have a great eco-tourism product.

“The question is, with all of these natural resources and wealth, why hasn’t the country progressed even further? And that is why we’re so strong on issues of democracy and good governance. Because our country came through a very rough history, pre-1992, where we went through a long period of dictatorship. That led to tremendous economic and social decline,” President Ali said.

According to Ali, they have worked hard to rebuild the economy from the second poorest in the hemisphere to one of the fastest growing economies in the hemisphere, with growth projections of 47 per cent.

The oil-rich Stabroek Block is 6.6 million acres (26,800 square kilometres). Exxon, through subsidiary Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Limited (EEPGL), is the operator and holds 45 per cent interest in the Block. Hess Guyana Exploration Ltd holds 30 per cent interest, and CNOOC Petroleum Guyana Limited, a wholly-owned subsidiary of CNOOC Limited, holds the remaining 25 per cent interest.

ExxonMobil has said it anticipates at least six projects offshore Guyana will be online by 2027. The Liza Phase 1 has been producing oil since 2019 and production recently started on the Liza Phase 2 project. It is expected that production will increase to 220,000 barrels of oil per day with the Liza Unity Floating Production, Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessel.
The third project – the Payara Development – will meanwhile target an estimated resource base of about 600 million oil-equivalent barrels and was at one point considered to be the largest single planned investment in the history of Guyana.

The Yellowtail development, which will be oil giant ExxonMobil’s fourth development in Guyana’s waters, will turn out to be the single largest development so far in terms of barrels of oil per day, with a mammoth 250,000 bpd targeted.