API Chief Economist urges Guyana to focus on oil investments, securing links with refineries this year

News
February 1, 2021

By Dr. Dean Foreman, US-Africa Committee Member of the of the Africa Energy Chamber

As Guyana embarks on its second year as an oil-producing nation, Chief Economist at the American Petroleum Institute (API), Dr. Dean Foreman, said it is in the country’s best interest to remain focused on building on its success and furthering its development. Thus far, ExxonMobil has made an impressive discovery of approximately nine billion barrels of oil equivalent resources, with further exploration planned this year.

During an exclusive interview with OilNOW, the Chief Economist said Guyana should ensure that it collaborates with producers that can help the country continue to build a critical mass of investment, infrastructure, and industry support through the value chain as well as secure a reliable market niche and refiner relationships for its crude oil.

While many stakeholders here and abroad anticipate seeing some level of recovery in 2021 following the economic pains that came with the coronavirus pandemic, Dr. Foreman suggested uncertainty will continue to linger in the shadows. In this regard, he said, “Progress in vaccines to stem the transmission of COVID-19 remains an uncertainty for the global economy and consequently oil demand, which tend to go hand-in-hand.  We do not yet know for certain whether the vaccines that have already been developed will be effective against new strains of the coronavirus.”

He added, “However, a current article in Pharmaceutical Technology discusses three variants of COVID-19 that appeared in January 2021 suggests that for these mutations and variants at least one or more of the authorized vaccines is likely to be effective.”

As the industry remains hopeful and eager for good news on the success of the vaccine, the pandemic has undoubtedly prompted a re-examination of the role of fossil fuels for the supply of energy, while giving more life to the transition toward a low-carbon world. In fact, China, Japan, and South Korea, which together account for 20% of world oil demand, have all announced carbon neutrality goals.

Nevertheless, Dr. Foreman stressed that the oil and gas industry will be part and parcel of helping countries reduce the risks of climate change while meeting the world’s growing energy needs. He said the industry will continue to play a foundational role in the global energy mix for decades to come while enabling investments in renewables as well as new technologies. In fact, under the International Energy Agency’s Paris Agreement-aligned sustainable development scenario, Dr. Foreman noted that nearly half of global energy demand in 2040 will be met by oil and gas.

With this in mind, industry analysts such as Dr. Foreman and Americas Market Intelligence’s Co-Director on Energy, Arthur Deakin, are of the firm conviction that Guyana’s future with oil and gas development is secure.