Since Guyana started earning oil and gas revenues, the Natural Resource Fund (NRF) being banked at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York has seen its first-quarter interest earnings more than double over the past year.
A perusal of the Bank of Guyana’s quarterly report shows that in 2021, the fund earned $13.7 million (US$65,823) in interest during the first quarter. This has since risen to $31.5 million (US$151,412) in the 2022 first quarter covered by the report. According to the Bank of Guyana, this has to do with a decision by the Federal Reserve to increase its interest rates.
“In March 2022, the Federal Reserve increased its target range for federal funds rate from 0 per cent-0.25 per cent to 0.25 per cent-0.5 per cent. As a result, the interest rate on overnight deposits was increased and the fund was able to earn a higher level of interest income on its overnight deposits,” the report stated.
Back in March, the decision of the Federal Reserve to increase its interest rate ranges for the first time since 2018 was seen as a measure to address increasing inflation. A decision was also taken to implement more increases this year and also in 2023.
Since Exxon subsidiary Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Limited (EEPGL) found crude in commercial quantities offshore Guyana in 2015, there has been 28 oil finds to date in the Stabroek Block and an estimated recoverable resource of over 10 billion oil-equivalent barrels.
Guyana, with US oil giant ExxonMobil as the operator, began producing oil on December 20, 2019, in the Stabroek Block. The first-ever payment of US$54.9 million for an oil lift was received in February 2020.
So far, the NRF has already received inflows for at least 10 oil lifts since ExxonMobil started production in the Liza 1 Development. The fund had a $150 billion closing balance at the end of March 2022.
It was explained in the Bank of Guyana report that the NRF had a starting balance of $90.9 billion at the start of the 2021 fourth quarter and a balance of $150 billion at the end of the 2022 first quarter.
The Bank also revealed that Guyana was expected to earn millions from 12 crude lifts planned for this year. These lifts, each of which amounts to one million barrels of crude, will come from both the Liza 1 and 2 developments.
ExxonMobil is currently undertaking four production projects – Liza 1, Liza 2, Payara and Yellowtail in the oil-rich block. Production capacity is currently at 120,000 barrels per day (bpd) with the Liza Destiny Floating Production, Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessel in operation.
Meanwhile, production only recently started in the Liza 2 development, which is said to produce even lighter crude than Liza 1. It is also estimated that when the Yellowtail development project comes on stream, production will climb to 810,000 bpd by 2027. The US oil major anticipates at least six FPSOs producing one million bpd by 2030.
The oil-rich Stabroek Block is 6.6 million acres (26,800 square kilometres). Exxon, through its local affiliate 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.