This follows an announcement by ExxonMobil on Friday, that it had begun commercial oil production from the Liza field offshore Guyana.
In an address to the nation Friday evening, President Granger announced that oil production is set to begin three months ahead of the originally scheduled date.
He announced that he intended to proclaim December 20 as National Petroleum Day as a reminder of the duty to protect Guyana’s patrimony and to ensure the sustainable management of finite hydrocarbon resources. Some estimates put the life of the country’s oil and gas sector at between 20 and 40 years based on current discoveries, as oil companies continue to search for more oil in commercial quantities in the Guyana-Suriname basin.
While oil production began Friday, the first million barrels — ExxonMobil’s first entitlement — are not expected to be shipped to one of its refineries until January 2020. Guyana’s first three million barrels are also expected to be shipped off to an international oil refinery of its choice. ExxonMobil and Guyana’s entitlements are to be refined to remove all contaminants and set a standard that will attract the best Brent crude price.
The President restated that his administration planned to spend the oil revenues on developing the social sectors and physical infrastructure. With the sovereign wealth fund legislation in place and an account already opened at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York for deposits to be made, Granger said withdrawals from the fund “will follow a balanced approach, prioritising investment in public education, public health, public infrastructure, public security, social protection and other social services and will support private sector development.”
“Petroleum production will be a transformative process in the country’s economic development. The petroleum sector will stimulate increased employment and expand services,” he stated
President Granger assured that any withdrawals from the fund will “will follow a balanced approach, prioritising investment in public education, public health, public infrastructure, public security, social protection and other social services and will support private sector development.”
Noting that the “brighter future” for the country’s present and future generations is imminent, President Granger called for collaboration in building a prosperous Guyana.
The Head of State reminded that several steps have been taken to safeguard the national interest.
First, there was the establishment of the Department of Energy, which is headed by Dr. Mark Bynoe, to manage the country’s hydrocarbon resources and build the institutional, legislative and regulatory capacity to manage this sector effectively.
Second, the National Assembly this year passed the Natural Resource Fund Act, which will ensure Guyanese benefit from the oil resource wealth while ensuring these revenues are managed in a transparent and accountable manner.
From May 2015 to September 2019 there have been 16 oil finds in Guyana’s waters. Of these 14 are by oil giant ExxonMobil with two by UK-based oil company Tullow Oil.
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