Guyana anticipates a rich oil future

GEORGETOWN, July 22, 2015 – ExxonMobil’s recent discovery offshore Guyana may hold in excess of 700 million barrels of oil equivalent, according to the South American country’s minister of governance. Guyana currently produces no oil or gas.


ExxonMobil has not confirmed the minister’s assertion, which was based on advice from outside experts. However, in a statement released on May 20, the Houston-based company described the find at the Liza-1 well as “significant.”

ExxonMobil has confirmed that drilling, which began in March 2015, reached a subsea depth of 1,740 metres and uncovered a 90-metre column of oil- and gas-soaked rock. The Liza-1 well sits in the Stabroek block region, 193 kilometres off the coast of Guyana. The find has worsened border tensions with neighbouring Venezuela, which has long disputed Guyana’s claim to the waters. On June 9, Venezuela’s foreign minister called on Guyana to halt exploration and enter into dialogue.

If corroborated, the discovery could represent a major turning point for Guyana’s economy. The country’s GDP was $2.99 billion in 2014, according to the World Bank, ranking it at 159th in the world. Oil-rich Venezuela, for example, had a GDP of $600 billion for the same year, ranking it at 26th. It could equally represent a shift in fortune for ExxonMobil, which is struggling against three consecutive years of declining production and sluggish reserves growth.

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