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ASP report on Guyana: These new resources could help Guyana become a model for how to build sustainable security and prosperity

ASP

The geopolitical challenges and opportunities presented by the coming oil boom will transform Guyana- The American Security Project.

By Guyana Chronicle

GEORGETOWN
Petroleumworld 10 23 2018

Guyana's growing importance on the global stage is being noticed. Since the discovery of massive oil resources, international attention and investments have been steadily growing.

Just this last week, an American think tank turned its focus on Guyana by hosting an event on the prospects for oil revenue to bolster our regional status and the security situation.

The American Security Project (ASP) is a non-profit and non-partisan research organisation in Washington, D.C. The organisation's board of directors includes former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, former U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, and former Senator and presidential candidate Gary Hart.

The event on Thursday included Sonya Boodoo from the Norwegian energy research firm Rystad, Lisa Viscidi, director of the Energy, Climate Change, and Extractive Industries Program at the Inter-American Dialogue, and Vice-Admiral Kevin Green, USN (Ret), who had commanded the U.S. Navy's Southern Command. At the event, ASP unveiled an academic report examining Guyana's security situation and calling on American policymakers to build a closer relationship with Guyana.

The report was written by Andrew Holland, the ASP's chief operating officer and an expert in sustainable energy, environmental policies, and infrastructure, who worked as a legislative aide in the U.S. Senate. Holland's paper emphasised the fortunate timing of Guyana's oil discoveries, coming just as Venezuela's oil production collapses and other major conventional oil finds have been scarce.

“If properly managed, these new resources could help Guyana become a model for how to build sustainable security and prosperity. For too long, U.S. policy has ignored the interests of the Caribbean and Latin America, seeing it only as a source of problems,” the report stated.

At the event itself, which was livestreamed, Boodoo outlined the projections of Rystad Energy and noted that Guyana had effectively used attractive fiscal terms in its production-sharing agreements to attract investment—a decision that could help lead to the government taking in more than US$110 billion over the next few decades, according to Rystad projections at $70 per barrel oil.

The report did not ignore the challenges faced by Guyana and the problems that resource extraction can sometimes pose. However, the panelists emphasised that they believe Guyana is on the right track. “Guyana faces geopolitical challenges, ranging from transnational crime to threats to its territorial integrity. If properly managed, the oil boom can help alleviate these threats and turn Guyana into a model for the Region.”

“The resource curse is not a prophecy: it is a warning,” noted the report, which also stated that if the Green State Development Strategy is implemented effectively, Guyana could become a model in the Region and the world for how to balance energy development, economic growth and conservation.

The elements of territorial integrity and geopolitical independence are also important ones. Considering the regular threats from Venezuela, our security situation is usually on the minds of many Guyanese. As outlined in the ASP report, Venezuela doesn't just claim more than half the country as its own, but also an area that includes all major oil finds to date.

“For small countries, energy security affords resilience to external threats. Without energy security, a country's economic and social well-being becomes hostage to foreign actors. There are few places in the world that exhibit the challenges of energy insecurity more so than the nations around the Caribbean,” Holland wrote in the report.

As the report and panel emphasised, revenues generated by the oil project provide an opportunity for Guyana. With an effective fiscal regime, Guyana can direct the profits to build local industry, invest in crucial infrastructure and education, ensure domestic energy supplies and enhance our geopolitical status.

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Story from Guyana Chronicle

guyanachronicle.com 10 23 2018


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