Contemplating Oil Prospects, Suriname and Guyana Look to Peers

  • Dec 2017
  • Patrick Heller, Aisha Adam

The article reports on the New Producers Group annual meeting that was held in Suriname in 2017. At the meeting, government officials from Suriname and Guyana were keen to learn from the experiences of their peers in the other new oil hotspots. Suriname and Guyana find themselves at different points in their life cycles as prospective oil producers. Guyana has already made large discoveries, while Suriname is at a more speculative stage of offshore exploration. Institutionally, Suriname has developed a small but capable administrative and commercial body—Staatsolie—as a result of its years of small-scale production, while Guyana is just beginning to build its administrative architecture in response to the discovery. But the two countries face a similar set of issues. Both have small populations and small economies. Suriname’s GDP is USD 3.6 billion, placing it 158th in the world. Guyana, which has a population just shy of 800,000, has a GDP of $3.4 billion, placing it 159th. This means that significant oil production could have a massive impact on these economies. If managed correctly, successful oil projects could mean a major boost to the development agenda of either country. But the potential for negative distortions—including budget volatility and the disruption of other sectors—is high if risks are not managed effectively.

A link to the original article is available below.