Home Letters Time to position Guyana into a leading Latin American oil producing nation
I wish all Season’s Greetings and best wishes for 2023 and beyond.
Again, with the holidays flowing, and with some downtime, it would be inattentive of me not to pen my thoughts on a matter close to my heart, in light of all the misinformation in the public arena.
Alignment is crucial, and the pertinent question remains: Is the oil agenda aligned with the Guyanese plan? I would like to believe so, and my statement below seeks to expound on my position.
A few members of our society, who appear very opposed to the development in the oil sector, are now suggesting that the projects in the Stabroek Block should be blocked. What is most interesting is that one group even launched court proceedings. Well, power to the courts. This is the perfect opportunity to expose the shallowness of their position (if one had listened to a podcast on “Democracy Now”). Most unfortunately, the posturing evidence they have presented thus far to the public is populated with unsubstantiated inferences and conclusions that have no basis in core sciences, and are purely emotional.
Offshore oil and gas platforms are extraordinary engineering accomplishments. These structures do not come cheaply. When completed, they can extract oil and gas from some of the least accessible spots on the planet. Without them, there would have been more wars, as humanity battles for the dwindling stock of land-based fossil fuels to feed their lifestyle.
With over 70% of the Permian Basin in the United States now drilled, producers are finding that those rocks yield less oil (between 10% to 12% less oil per lateral foot, compared to 12 months ago). The evidence substantiates that the inventory developed from the Permian Basin will dwindle in about eight (8) years, and the global energy situation compound this news. BP estimated that total international oil reserves were over 1.5 trillion barrels (equivalent to some 40 years of consumption at current rates) at the end of 2021. Without offshore oil reserves (similar to the discoveries in Guyana) being exploited, the world could run out of fossil fuel in 27 years. In light of renewable energy sources still playing catch up, it would be reckless to try to shut down precious offshore resources such as the Stabroek Block.
Therefore, this is the time for the Guyanese authorities to seize the moment over these next five (5) years with a mission to position this nation into a leading Latin American oil producer, and use those resources to catapult our people from Third World status to First World status by 2030. Thus, this counterfeit mantra: that Guyana is adding the ingredients to the global “carbon bomb”, has to be rejected firmly by all Guyanese, because it is self-serving and is designed to deny the people of this nation the bounties from this territory.
For the record, there is a global “carbon bomb” that needs to be defused, but that bomb was created long before Guyana found oil, and was not created by this nation. Unfortunately, leaders in countries like China, India, Canada, Australia, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Russia and the United States have the honour of owning that global “carbon bomb”, because they did not take adequate care in their exploitations.
But the facts would prove that this world has advanced technologically since Standard Oil was drilled almost 120 years ago. Oil is now being harvested more environmentally and more efficiently in 2022. So, why attempt to hold this nation hostage because we are doing the right thing at the right time?
With access to this new technology, the Guyanese authorities have a golden opportunity to partner with the Private Sector to harvest as much of its natural wealth as fast as possible for the wellbeing of its people, with one primary precondition being that all projects must be implemented in a manner that does not violate our net zero status.
Why should a nation with 18 million hectares of forests – which store almost 20 gigatonnes of Co2 – not have the freedom to access its oil resources while not violating its net zero status? There is an enormous oil shortage globally, and why should tiny Guyana not cash in on this bonanza, especially now that we have established the verifiable evidence that the local oil industry will not surpass the “carbon sequestration services” provided by the Guyanese forests?
As an independent nation, we must use the evidence of the failure of other countries to build our own experiences, but simultaneously seek to avoid their mistakes. The first objective is to maintain a net zero status, and all the evidence has proven that Guyana continues to meet that objective.
But how dare the vocal minority, with their sanctimonious pomposity, seek to deny the people of this nation the bounty of our natural wealth? The evidence will illustrate that, today, 80% of the world’s energy needs are provided by fossil fuels. Still, this vocal minority is chattering about the world trying to get out of oil, when this is nothing but a mischaracterisation of the truth.
What is wrong if Guyana produces one (1) million barrels of oil by 2030, if it does not violate our net zero status? So what if Guyana becomes Exxon’s single largest source of daily oil production by 2030, if that project unleashes enormous capital for the Guyanese people while maintaining our net zero status? Don’t we have a right to lift our people by fulfilling their economic and social needs like any other nation? Don’t our people have a right to more modern bridges, more efficient transportation links, more functional hospitals, more technologically-friendly schools, a more-mechanised and higher-yielding agricultural sector, a more reliable electricity sector, and a housing sector that can secure the social wellbeing of all of our people?
What about our manufacturing sector and its access to lower-cost and more reliable energy for the next 40 years? How can it benefit? It can create new jobs and opportunities for further skills’ development.
And as to this argument that coastal Guyana is expected to be under water by 2030 because of the oil development in the Stabroek Block, it is nothing but intellectual dishonesty on the part of the messengers. The rising seawater situation was in the narrative 35 years ago – when I was in high school, and long before the Stabroek Block.
So, dredge it up now, and attempt to repackage it, as it is a problem created today in Guyana because the oil and gas sector’s development off of our shores is disingenuous and exposes a nasty attempt at subterfuge and deception.
Not once have they sought to tell the truth that the Stabroek Block is expected to have six (6) FPSOs by 2027, and even with these six (6) systems, it would take 15 years for them to generate the volume of Co2 stored by the Guyanese forest in a single year.
In conclusion, until there is an installed alternative to replace fossil fuel globally (for emphasis, I said established – real bricks and mortar, not more talk), Guyana has a right to continue to harvest its oil and gas resources as an economic project to uplift the financial wellbeing of its people.
The Government of Guyana has the ethical responsibility to think about the Guyanese people first. If fulfilling that commitment means harvesting more oil from the sea, then so be it.