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What’s at Stake for Guyana’s Oil Sector in the Elections?

Presidential candidate Irfaan Ali of the opposition People’s Progressive Party has said his government would review agreements with international oil companies, excluding ExxonMobil, if elected in the March 2 vote. // File Photo: Facebook Page of Irfaan Ali.

Guyana’s general elections are scheduled for March 2, with the two main parties—ruling coalition A Partnership for National Unity, or APNU, and the opposition People’s Progressive Party, or PPP—vying for the presidency and control of the 65-seat parliament. PPP candidate Irfaan Ali said last month that the government’s deal with ExxonMobil for oil exploration and production offshore Guyana will not be renegotiated, but agreements with other firms, including Tullow Oil, Repsol and Total, would be “examined in totality.” How is Guyana’s electoral race shaping up? Who are the candidates to watch? What are the most important proposals with regard to the oil sector, and what’s at stake for Guyana’s blooming oil production?

Valérie Marcel, associate fellow in the energy, environment and resources program at Chatham House: “The stakes of the upcoming elections are high for the little South American-Caribbean nation, as it has just begun to produce from its string of oil discoveries last December. The winning party on March 2 will reign over the spending (and saving) of the country’s oil revenues. There is a unique political opportunity for state-building should the new government distribute opportunities across indigenous, Afro- and Indo-Guyanese bases. But there is also a risk that it develops clientelistic networks based on ethnic and party affiliation. The APNU coalition led by President Granger is campaigning on a continuation of the ‘Green State Development Strategy’ that aimed to give Guyanese a ‘good life’ while preserving Guyana’s pristine environment. Surprisingly, there is no significant departure from these policies in the PPP manifesto, which bodes well for policy continuity. The PPP also supports the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative and the new sovereign wealth fund. Both rival parties have spoken about the need to…”

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A sister publication of the Inter-American Dialogue’s daily Latin America Advisor, the weekly Energy Advisor captures fresh analysis from business leaders and government officials on the most important developments in oil and gas, biofuels, the power sector, renewable energies, new technologies, and the policy debates shaping the future of energy in the Western Hemisphere. To subscribe or for more information, contact Erik Brand, publisher of the Advisor, at

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