Guyana is in talks with Qatar, Britain, the United Arab Emirates and India on the possibility of allocating offshore blocks for oil and gas exploration under a bidding round this year, President Irfaan Ali said on Monday.
The tiny South American country has emerged as the world’s fast-growing oil region with more than 11 billion barrels of oil and gas discovered. It has scheduled an auction of offshore exploration areas and said it would consider government-to-government talks with national oil companies.
Guyana will receive bids through mid-April from energy firms for its competitive bidding round, which is offering 14 areas encompassing shallow and deepwater areas. Separately, it has held talks with other nations over directly allocating a portion of the areas.
“We have been toying with a number of options,” Ali said on the sidelines of an energy conference in Trinidad and Tobago. “We have gone out publicly with the bid round (and) there is also that room we are looking at for government-to-government collaboration.”
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Ali visited India earlier this month, where he encouraged companies to participate in the round and engaged in talks with the government for block allocations to state companies and on possible oil supply contracts to the Asian country.
When former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson met Ali in Guyana last year, they discussed energy investment opportunities, Ali said.
“In the environment we are operating, you have to keep as many cards on the table,” Ali added.
Trinidad and Tobago’s Energy Minister Stuart Young at the same conference proposed a Caribbean energy alliance with neighboring Guyana and Suriname.
The alliance could bring oil and gas resources from Guyana, Venezuela, and Suriname to Trinidad, which currently has spare processing and export capacity, he said at Trinidad and Tobago’s Energy Conference 2023 in Port of Spain.
The COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine show the region has to stand on its own, Young said. Combining resources from new discoveries in Guyana and Suriname with Trinidad and Tobago’s capacity provides an opportunity for the region to play a greater role in global energy supplies, he added.
Guyana’s Ali also called for the Caribbean to work together to confront a lack of capital for developing countries to tap their hydrocarbon wealth.
Some countries are pushing renewable energy agendas without understanding the impact on producers like Guyana, he said, without naming the countries.
Ali said he was not making an anti-renewable argument, but pointed to the potential economic fallout and the lack of support from multi lateral institutions.