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Oil makes Guyana the fastest-growing economy

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According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the fastest-growing economy in the world this year will be the relatively small South American country of Guyana, thanks to the oil boom in the country.

The IMF estimates that the economy of the former British colony will grow by an impressive 37% this year. The turnaround began just five years after ExxonMobil—the maker of the Mobil grease, spindle oil, and other lubricants—made its first discovery in 2015. In 2020, when most economies were drastically affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and the associated restrictions, the Guyanese economy bucked the trend by growing 43.5%. It followed this up with further growth of 20% and 62% in the subsequent two years.

Rising oil production is, of course, driving the country’s economic success. In February this year, some 380,000 barrels per day (bpd) of oil were being produced in Guyana, with this providing valuable revenue to the Government despite the favourable terms given to the ExxonMobil-led consortium. A further 220,000 bpd of capacity is set to come online later this year, and by 2027 the country could well be producing 1.2 million bpd.

Sam Hinds, a former Prime Minister and President of the country, has said that he expects the country’s economy to double over that period. Based on IMF data for 2022, this would raise Guyana’s GDP per capita to $12,000, making it South America’s fifth wealthiest country, still behind Argentina, but ahead of Brazil. An upcoming licensing round could also lead to further growth in future.

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