UK eyes Guyana’s oil supply in wake of Ukraine/ Russia fallout

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By Vishani Ragobeer

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President Dr. Irfaan Ali met with the Prime of the United Kingdom (UK) Boris Johnson on Wednesday and talks between the two leaders spotlighted the UK’s interest in getting much-needed oil supplies from Guyana.

Prime Minister Johnson is recognised as one of the major world leaders and President Ali’s discussion with him was part of ongoing engagements between the two countries – both on the government and private-sector levels.

In an exclusive interview with the News Room following his engagement with Prime Minister Johnson in the UK, President Ali noted that Guyana’s low carbon development agenda alongside its oil and gas pursuits were welcomed by the British leader.

President Dr. Irfaan Ali (right) meeting with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson (Photo: Latchman Singh/ April 27, 2022)

And with the UK interested in collaborating with Guyana on both fronts, President Ali said that the two leaders agreed on increased government-to-government dialogue to hammer out specific areas of collaboration.

Because of Russia’s widely condemned invasion of Ukraine, the UK seems to be eyeing alternative sources of oil. And Guyana – with its prolific Stabroek Block alone churning out successive discoveries – could be a saviour.

“We discussed ways in which there can be greater collaboration between the UK and Guyana in the energy sector and the oil and gas sector,” President Ali told the News Room.

He later added, “One such thing that we discussed, given what is taking place in Ukraine, (is) UK energy security and he [Johnson] was very much interested in Guyana and what role we can play in this regard.”

The Guyanese Head of State further related that this potential supply of oil to the UK is among those forthcoming government-to-government discussions.

He, however, emphasised that Guyana will be seeking the “best proposal” for its oil. It is for this reason the government is still mulling whether it will form a national oil company or auction off the remaining oil blocks.

The BBC reported that Russian imports account for about eight per cent of UK oil demand. But, in the wake of Russia’s invasion, the UK is expected to phase out Russian oil by the end of this year.

Other countries, including those in the European Union (EU), have signalled an interest in banning Russian oil.

Other countries, like India, have been seeking a long term oil supply deal with Guyana’s government even before the Ukraine crisis. Guyana had, however, opted to market some of its oil through a one-year deal with Aramco Trading Limited, a unit of the Saudi Arabian oil company.

On Wednesday, however, President Ali said that bilateral discussions can “evolve”.

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