President David Granger Friday night said he expected increased jobs and assured that oil revenues would be spent wisely, shortly after ExxonMobil announced that it earlier in the day began commercial oil production from the Liza field offshore Guyana.
“The petroleum sector will stimulate increased employment and expand services,” he said in an address to the nation.
He announced that he intended to proclaim December 20 as National Petroleum Day as a reminder of the duty to protect Guyana’s patrimony and to ensure the sustainable management of finite hydrocarbon resources. Some estimates put the life of the country’s oil and gas sector at between 20 and 40 years based on current discoveries, as oil companies continue to search for more oil in commercial quantities in the Guyana-Suriname basin.
While oil production began Friday, the first million barrels — ExxonMobil’s first entitlement — are not expected to be shipped to one of its refineries until January 2020. Guyana’s first three million barrels are also expected to be shipped off to an international oil refinery of its choice. ExxonMobil and Guyana’s entitlements are to be refined to remove all contaminants and set a standard that will attract the best Brent crude price.
The President restated that his administration planned to spend the oil revenues on developing the social sectors and physical infrastructure. With the sovereign wealth fund legislation in place and an account already opened at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York for deposits to be made, Granger said withdrawals from the fund “will follow a balanced approach, prioritising investment in public education, public health, public infrastructure, public security, social protection and other social services and will support private sector development.”