Tremendous accomplishment from oil block bids – President Ali

President Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali has stated he is not disappointed about the number of bids received for the country’s competitive offshore oil and gas licensing round, which includes 14 oil blocks offshore Guyana.

The head of state said it is a tremendous accomplishment for the small-producing oil and gas nation, especially at a time when the world is moving off from financing petroleum-related activities to cut carbon emissions.

President, Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali

President Ali was at the time responding to questions posed by American journalists during an event on Wednesday, in Washington DC, USA.

“In this market let us be very open and factual about this. We went out and auction[ed] at a time when major economies in the world were basically saying to oil producers, ‘We’re not going to finance you.’ So, you’re going to a market where raising of capital is an issue,” President Ali stated.

He explained that some countries had launched similar auctions but were unsuccessful when compared to responses received by Guyana.

“Many countries went to this same market and got no response to their auctions. We went to this market for 14 blocks and we got a response for eight blocks.  We are very happy. We got responses for eight of the 14 blocks and that is significant. That cannot be minimised in any way, shape or form, because there are many countries that went out and got no attraction,” President Ali underscored.

With regards to companies not submitting any bids, the president highlighted that many countries including India and Qatar have expressed an interest in participating in the oil and gas industry but through government-to-government partnerships.

While the option can be explored, the head of state explained that the government had to ensure that all blocks undergo an open, transparent public competitive process.

President Ali further expressed, “That is what we’re proud of that we have been able, as a newcomer in this business to demonstrate great transparency and openness in putting out the blocks for public auction…I don’t think it’s a disappointment, it’s a tremendous accomplishment given the circumstances, the market, and realities that we’re operating in,” he reiterated.

Additionally, with a gap in funding to fulfil basic Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs2030) in middle-income countries like Guyana, President Ali said the global community must be realistic as to where the funding will come from.

“You will hear what we have to say at COP28 as we navigate this complex issue to find the global balance that is needed,” he emphasised.

The government through the Ministry of Natural Resources launched the first-ever competitive offshore oil and gas licensing round in December 2022 with an April 2023 deadline.

However, it was extended to June, July, and then September 12 as the administration moved to advance the sector regulatory framework to ensure accountability and transparency.

Of the 14 blocks, ranging from acreages of 1,000 square kilometres to 3,000 square kilometres, 11 are located in shallow water, while the remaining three can be found in ultra-deep water.

The government will now move to publish the complete details of the submissions for the auction in the Official Gazette, following the Laws of Guyana.