Oil wealth must reach all Guyanese – British envoy

International oil and gas company Exxon Mobil struck liquid gold a second time in its exploration efforts offshore Guyana. (Photo: Exxon Mobil)

As Guyana moves to extract first oil in a few months’ time, British High Commissioner Greg Quinn has posited that the benefits of oil must reach all Guyanese, including those on the coastland and those in hinterland villages.

Making these remarks on Thursday, during the 93rd anniversary celebration of the birth of Queen Elizabeth II, Quinn noted that both the Government and Opposition are tasked to work for the good of everyone.

“Guyana is on the cusp of unparalleled wealth. That wealth must benefit each and every citizen of this country, regardless of who they are or where they are; from the coast to the hinterland, from Georgetown to the smallest village. Everyone must benefit. Government and Opposition must work for all the citizens of Guyana,” the High Commissioner admonished.

British High Commissioner to Guyana, Gregory Quinn

The principal explorer of this oil, ExxonMobil, has thus far made 13 discoveries, the most recent being in April last. This discovery added to the previously announced estimated recoverable resource of approximately 5.5 billion oil-equivalent barrels in the Stabroek Block. Yellowtail-1 is the fifth discovery in the Turbot area, which ExxonMobil expects to become a major development hub.

Quinn explained that if citizens are at the other end of such resources, the latent potentials of the country, which have been announced for some time, would be realised. If not, he said, it will be a “shameful legacy”.

“If this does not happen, I fear Guyana will not develop, and we will continue to hear the tired, old mantra of how much potential Guyana has. There is no question about that potential, but it is up to the political leadership to do, to actually show it, to actually move beyond potential to reality…If that does not happen, it will be a shameful legacy,” he warned.

He mentioned the positive growth in business activities and linkages that were forged with other parts of the United Kingdom (UK). Guyana recently established ties with Aberdeen, from where expertise can be provided for the oil industry.

“The one thing I want to highlight is the expanding business relationship. In the last year, we have cemented the links between Aberdeen and the city of Georgetown. All of this is designed to help Georgetown learn from the good and the bad of dealing with oil and gas. We have met every increasing links between the UK and Guyanese business in all areas. It’s not just about the oil and gas, it’s about retail, consumer goods, services and other skills,” Quinn said during the event.

ExxonMobil had previously said there is potential for at least five floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessels on the Stabroek Block, producing more than 750,000 barrels of oil per day by 2025.

Startup of the Liza Phase 1 development is on track to begin by the first quarter of 2020, and this well is expected to produce up to 120,000 barrels of oil per day utilising the Liza Destiny FPSO, which is expected to arrive in the country in the third quarter.

Liza Phase 2 is expected to start up by mid-2022. A final investment decision is expected soon, subject to Government and regulatory approvals. Upon approval, the project plans to use the Liza Unity FPSO to produce up to 220,000 barrels per day.

Sanctioning of a third development, Payara, is also expected in 2019, with startup projected for 2023.

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