Oil Dorado Beckons in 2023!
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on google
Share on whatsapp

GUYANA is ending the first month of 2023 just as it closed 2022 — on a better footing, pacing quickly towards a brighter future already being seen by all and felt by many, in the world’s fastest-growing economy.

The largest member state of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) also started the new year as the fifth-fastest-growing non-oil economy globally, with every indication the emerging Oil Dorado, fuelled by its healthy new earnings, will spend another year successfully investing its petro dollars to earn more positive returns for the wider national good.

On December 31, 2022, and January 1, 2023, Al Jazeera, the Qatar-based and globally popular international news agency, featured a wide-ranging interview with Guyana’s President, Dr Irfaan Ali on its popular Talk to Al Jazeera programme.

During the programme, Dr Ali outlined some of his PPP/C administration’s plans, to assure it intends to use the nation’s growing oil revenues wisely.

The year 2023 also opened with the World Bank’s latest report confirming Guyana’s economy grew by 62.3 per cent in 2022, with double-digit growth also projected to continue into 2024; and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) saying its “non-oil sectors” are performing better than expected.

The emerging New Guyana is evident to any visitor heading to the capital, Georgetown, after landing at the new-look and feel-good Cheddi Jagan International Airport.

Eye-raising and jaw-dropping new infrastructural projects include highways built with concrete (not asphalt), countless new housing units, more new businesses of all sizes — and a busier-than-usual commercial sector, all greased and fuelled by oil revenues.

The government has allocated over 20,500 new house lots and established 44 new housing areas since being elected to office in August 2020; the Demerara River was recently dredged for US$300 million to facilitate an offshore base; and China has lent Guyana US$172 million to help build an entirely new Demerara Harbour Bridge.

The manufacturing sector is geared for exponential growth, tourism continues expanding (with a massive increase in arrivals recorded in 2022), rice exports topped over US$100 million last year, the coconut industry got an additional boost – and the nation moved much closer to cutting its $350 million import bill for eggs.

Guyana earned US $1.2 billion in oil revenues last year, with projections for production of one million barrels per day by 2027.

There’s growing global interest in investing in Guyana by new and old energy companies in Africa, Canada, China, India, Europe, the Middle East and the USA; and existing investors (Exxon/Mobil, Hess, CNOOC and CGX among the leaders) are increasingly expanding investments, while widening and deepening exploration and extraction.

Hess has also signalled Guyana’s seventh oil platform, to lift output above 1.2 million barrels — and recently made its first payment to the government for forest protection; and now the company and Exxon have both discovered more oil this month.

President Ali visited India earlier this month and welcomed high interest in Guyana’s oil sector; private Guyana companies can now recruit Indian nationals for highly-specialized roles in the oil & gas industry; and Vice-President Bharrat Jagdeo will lead a follow-up technical team to India.

As Georgetown prepares to host the second edition of the Guyana International Energy Conference and Expo (February 14-17), the Guyana and Suriname Energy Chambers have signed a MoU for better business; and the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) says it’s ready and willing to finance energy-related projects in Guyana.

The administration also started 2023 inviting local farmers and agro-processors to form consortia to supply the growing energy sector, as explorations yield more oceans of Guyana’s oil and gas.

The government has also again offered guarantees that household incomes will continue to increase consistently.

The year has already seen passage of a massive $789 billion 2023 budget aimed at advancing the nation’s transformation, featuring: $84 billion for Health, $58 billion for security, $54 billion for housing, $43 billion for a gas-to-energy project – and $50 billion more for “citizens’ pockets” through increased pensions and other social expenditures.

Also on the cards for 2023 are the first 100 homes at the new IT-friendly Silica City the administration plans to build in the vicinity of the CJIA, plus significant infrastructural upgrading along the long Soesdyke-Linden Highway.

Guyana also started the year with a continuation of registration for upcoming Local Government Elections (LGEs) set for March 13.

The LGEs will take place exactly three years since the controversial 2020 national elections that the PPP/C won, but was prevented from taking office until five months later, as the defeated APNU+AFC alliance was unwilling to leave office — until it could no longer hold out.

The AFC closed 2022 pulling out of the alliance with APNU, but the LGEs will also coincide with the administration’s mid-term — and the results a sure indication of how voters view its tenure, to date.

Guyana opened 2023 with high hopes country-wide for better management of increasing flood risks, government having recently acquired amphibious excavators to help drain the vast areas of Georgetown and the coastal communities that submerge when the age-old Dutch irrigation system fails, largely due to historical neglect.

Most Guyanese will admit they started this year with more of the renewed hope and confidence garnered in 2021 and 2022 – not without the expected criticisms by political opponents and Doubting Thomases, but all within the context of a long-awaited (yet largely-unexpected) recovery from the economic doldrums that mainly characterized the past six decades.

The transition from the fabled El Dorado to today’s modern Oil Dorado has taken five centuries, but it’s one that Guyanese, at home and abroad, are simply glad about, in a Latin American and Caribbean region where 131 million people cannot access healthy diets.

Having endured decades with their homeland’s dustbin reputation of having a currency without value and classification as a “resource-rich but dirt-poor failed state,” Guyanese who’ve long sought refuge abroad are also proudly looking forward to visiting and/or returning home – and not only in mind and spirit, as Oil Dorado beckons.


Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on google
Share on whatsapp
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on google
Share on whatsapp
Scroll to Top
All our printed editions are available online
Subscribe to the Guyana Chronicle.
Sign up to receive news and updates.
We respect your privacy.