Anti-oil do-gooders rather most Guyanese live in poverty than to live under PPP

There are those who chastise the PPP Government, and in particular Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo, alleging that Guyana is extracting oil and gas too fast. There is a small group of mostly well-off, privileged people who want Guyana to pause the development of the oil industry. Some have outrightly argued that a pause is not enough; they want Guyana to leave oil in the ground. Several of those who reject the present trajectory of oil are Guyanese living abroad. Guyana is not good enough for them to live here, but they want to dictate for Guyana. One newspaper and its owner are now almost exclusively the “anti-oil paper”.
Those who want to stop Guyana from being able to use its oil resources to transform its economy and its infrastructure and to transform the lives of all Guyanese are even willing to pay people to hold placards in protest, even when the placard-holders cannot explain what they find wrong with the way the Government has managed oil and gas so far.
VP Bharrat Jagdeo has courageously, but honestly, let the world know that Guyana is on a trajectory for rapid development of its oil and gas resources. While Guyana will ensure absolute safety, Guyana seeks optimal benefits from our oil. As VP Jagdeo explained, fossil fuel demand presently has a finite period. With the climate change agenda and the aggressive move to non-fossil fuel energy source, countries with oil resources are now faced with the possibility that what was once a guaranteed wealth producer can very soon worth nothing.
Guyana has oil and gas that can last for more than 50 years, even with aggressive extraction. But the peak demand for oil is not likely to last beyond 15 to 20 years. Guyana therefore can be left with a resource that can provide us with wealth today but is not worth much in a few decades from now.
Guyana has no say in how much more time we have to market our fossil fuel. Whether it is 15 to 20 years, or even if it is 30 to 40 years, Guyana, the newest of the “new kids on the block”, faces the consequential question: do we go slowly, or do we maximize safe extraction? The Irfaan Ali-led PPP Government has made it clear, with almost daily reminders from VP Jagdeo, that our country will extract as rapidly as possible, ensuring we do so with the world’s best technology for safeguards.
Guyana’s oil resources became apparent only after 2010, with confirmation by 2014/2015. Confirmation that Guyana is the home of one of the most exciting oil reserves in the world came at a time when there was already global consensus that this resource must be left in the ground because it is a large part of the global warming/ climate change existential threat. The world has an agreement known as the Paris Agreement which essentially says that each country must establish a plan to remove fossil fuel from its energy mix. At the same time, countries have to invest in non-fossil fuel energy sources. There is now visible evidence that these non-fossil fuel sources have been rapidly developed and that the aspiration of zero fossil fuel use is one that is possible.
Recently, the Executive Director of the International Energy Agency (IEA) stated that demand for oil is likely to peak by 2030, just seven years from now. If he is right, the worth of Guyana’s oil is dramatically less. His prediction was based on changing governmental energy policy around the globe, the surge in development of clean technologies like solar panels and electric vehicles, the rise in use of heat pumps, and the forced accelerated move off of gas in Europe after Russia invaded Ukraine. The threat of a wide-ranging Middle East war is adding to the urgency to move away from fossil fuel. While the pace in moving away from fossil fuels, which cause global warming, is faster than previously expected, there is still need to hasten it even more if the world is to achieve its ambition to keep global warming to within the 1.50C threshold that international leaders have targeted. Therefore, the capacity of oil to enrich countries has a limited shelve-life.
It is mind-numbing that privileged Guyanese advocate Guyana dither while our rich oil resource becomes worthless. These anti-oil Guyanese have joined others in the world who deem themselves as experts, telling us that Guyana does not have the capacity to manage oil, and therefore if we must, we should go slowly. As part of the skullduggery, they claim their opposition is only driven by the fact that the EXXON deal is a bad one. We can all agree that the EXXON deal is bad. But stopping the deal now, putting a pause on it, will make us a global pariah, will force us into legal wranglings that would take time. Given the fact that our oil has a limited shelf life, who wants to go in that direction? While it is worth something, let us optimize our benefits.
The deal was not made by the PPP. President Irfaan Ali was nowhere near this deal. Bharrat Jagdeo did not make the deal. It was the David Granger-led APNU/AFC, a front for the PNC. The very people who are now in the forefront to freeze the deal said nothing when the PNC signed the deal. The deal became bad only after the PPP came to power. The real fear that drives the small band of anti-oil charlatans is that, with oil, Guyana’s prosperity will keep the PPP in government for a long time. The small band of spoilt, well-to-do charlatans would rather most Guyanese live in poverty than for them to live under a PPP government. Truth is truth.