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Will Crashing Oil Prices Shatter Guyana’s Dream of a Brighter Future?

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Photo by shehal

A few years ago, Guyanese politicians peddled the story of a wonder-commodity found under Guyana’s waters that was supposed to lift Guyana from the ashes of poverty to dizzying heights of glory.

As then Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman, had expressed it in a Stabroek News Article published on the 25th of May, 2017, “The 2015 discovery and the economic fortunes it portends for Guyana has to be seen against a backdrop of centuries of the enslavement of Africans, decades of indentureship of East Indians, Chinese, Portuguese, and the displacement of perhaps millions of our first people, the Amerindians.” Reference: Oil and the Future…the Crucible of Our Time.

So is oil Guyana’s new savior? As the aristocrats of the United Arab Emirates explained in the video circulating around Facebook, “it has little to do with resources and everything to do with leadership. You need good leaders, leaders who care about the people.” But does that breed of politician really exist in Guyana?

2020 has hit the world hard, and Guyana is no exception. But the unfortunate events of 2020 certainly will have a more acute impact on Guyana than most of the world. Still reeling from the blow of a corrupt electoral process and post-elections disturbances and sinking in external debt, Guyanese now have to swallow yet another hard pill: the crashing oil prices which has put crude below zero dollar per barrel in many parts of the world.

What Happened?

Reports coming from around the world are indicating that the coronavirus lockdown has resulted in a significantly lesser demand for fuel while oil companies kept producing. This in turn resulted in too much oil on hand and limited storage capacity.

As a result, oil companies around the world are now paying companies to take the oil off their hands. Saudi Arabia has been hit the hardest, along with Russia, and there is no reason to believe that Guyana won’t feel the squeeze as well. What we can foresee is this: there will be a surplus of oil in the world for months, perhaps year to come – essentially making oil a less-than-valuable commodity.

While many Guyanese and international agencies are contenting that ExxonMobil has already inked a parasitic deal with the Guyanese people, who knows what new surprises it will spring in the light of these novel developments?

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