By Vishani Ragobeer in Los Angeles
Brazil’s President Jair Bolsanaro boasts of his country’s natural resource prowess but has backed a budding partnership in oil and gas with its continental neighbours Guyana and Suriname.
The Brazilian Head of State singled out Guyanese President Dr. Irfaan Ali and his Surinamese counterpart Chandripersad Santokhi during his address at the leaders’ plenary at the ongoing Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles, California.
“…recent visits to our country are intended to collaborate with the oil and gas situation in your countries,” Bolsonaro said.
He added, “You have reserves in oil and gas equivalent to 90 per cent of those in Brazil reserves. And together with other partners, your countries will finally be highlighted in the world’s center.”
The collaboration among the three countries, which has been pursued with more alacrity over the past year, eyes the creation of an energy corridor on the northern tip of the South American continent- where all three countries are located.
The three countries are expected to pool their oil and gas resources to facilitate development in the Latin America and Caribbean region.
For context, Brazil’s oil reserves stand at about 12 billion barrels. Guyana struck oil in 2015 and since then, with exploration still continuing, it is estimated that there are some 11 billion barrels of proven oil resources. In Suriname, the figure stands at least two billion barrels so far.
During a recent state visit to Guyana, Presidents Ali and Bolsonaro agreed to strengthen collaboration on food production, the removal of trade barriers and economic cooperation.
Bolsonaro’s acknowledgement of the budding South American energy partnership came as he touted the invaluable services his country provides to the world. These, he said, include environmental services through the country’s Amazon rainforest and food, supplied to about one billion people.
Bolsonaro was one of the highly-anticipated speakers at the ongoing Summit. Guyana’s Head of State is expected to address the Summit on Friday as well.