Minster of Natural Resources Vickram Bharrat
The purchase of crude oil on a long-term basis from Guyana is something that has garnered a lot of interest beyond Guyana’s shores, even as the Government continues its policy of carefully examining any such proposals for Guyana’s crude.
In an exclusive interview with this publication, Natural Resources Minister Vickram Bharrat explained that there are many countries that want to purchase Guyana’s crude on a long-term basis… even countries that produce oil.
While their plans for utilising the oil may vary, one thing is clear. With an American Petroleum Institute (API) grade of just over 30 degrees, Guyana’s crude oil has a lower density than most crude on the market.
“We’ve always been through a public process of selling Guyana’s crude. However, there are many countries that are interested in buying Guyana’s crude, mostly because of the quality of the crude. It’s sweet light crude, maybe one of the best around the world, API of around 31, 32,” Bharrat said.
“Way lighter than Venezuela. Sulphur content below 0.5 per cent. So, it’s very light and easy to refine. So that is why there has been a lot of interest by countries that are even producing oil. They’re interested in buying our crude. We don’t know if it’s to blend with their crude or to refine as is, but that’s not really our issue.”
When it comes to India, where President Dr Irfaan Ali led a delegation of Guyanese to earlier this month, Bharrat confirmed that Guyana did receive an initial proposal from India on the direct long-term purchase of crude. It is a proposal that, like any others received, Guyana is carefully examining at a technical level.
“There’s always been an existing interest by India. I met with the Minister of Energy in Abu Dhabi recently. And then President Ali went to India himself. India has always expressed an interest in buying crude from Guyana. Because I think they require 8 million barrels a day, based on (economic) activities in India and the large population.”
“I’ve personally been to Abu Dhabi for the conference there. And their national oil company, ADNOC, is interested too in buying oil from Guyana. There are many other countries around the world and companies too,” Bharrat added.
Bharrat pointed out that British Petroleum (BP) is currently marketing crude from Guyana’s Liza Destiny and Unity Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessels. BP had won a contract in November 2022 to market Guyana’s share of petroleum from the two FPSO vessels producing oil offshore. It does not receive a marketing commission for this service.
There was also Saudi Aramco and Hess, who all previously marketed Guyana’s oil. In fact, Bharrat pointed out that Guyana is reaping the benefits of the extensive marketing of its oil, to diverse markets, since the quality of its oil is even more established in the industry.
“Our oil has been around the world. It has been to Europe, it has been [to] the Middle East, it has been to Asia, the Americas. Almost every major player in the oil and gas sector is looking to buy crude from Guyana. But we, as the President mentioned, we are in discussion at the technical level. Teams are discussing how we move forward on the requests made,” Bharrat said.
At a press conference a few weeks ago to mark his return from India, President Ali had confirmed that India is interested in purchasing Guyana’s oil on a long-term basis. However, he had stressed that the matter is still in the discussion phase and is carefully being assessed.
“This is nothing new, India has made it very clear that they have an interest in being one of the purchasers of Guyana’s oil…The technical teams will work and see what proposals India would forward.”
President Ali had also noted that India has expressed an interest in Guyana’s oil blocks which are currently up for auction. However, he stressed that the oil blocks are open for everyone to bid… not just Indian companies.
Guyana, with US oil giant ExxonMobil as the operator, began producing oil on December 20, 2019, in the Stabroek Block. The oil rich Stabroek Block is 6.6 million acres (26,800 square kilometres).
Exxon, through its local subsidiary Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Limited (EEPGL), is the operator and holds 45 per cent interest in the Block. Hess Guyana Exploration Ltd holds 30 per cent interest, and CNOOC Petroleum Guyana Limited, a wholly-owned subsidiary of CNOOC Limited, holds the remaining 25 per cent interest.