THEY are the odd-couple of the global oil industry : Guyana is a former British sugar colony. Exxon Mobil is America's largest oil company.

They came to depend on each other after a series of extraordinary oil discoveries off Guyana's coast transformed the small South American country's fortunes and bolstered the oil company's assets at a time when it's fortunes were flagging elsewhere.

But just as Exxon began to sell the first cargoes of Guyanese oil earlier this year, the company found its operations at the center of the country's biggest political crisis in decades. Oil prices are more than 60 percent below where they were at the beginning of the year.

After a bitterly contested election on March 2, many Guyanese are questioning whether the oil giant's deal with their country, struck under the current government, is fair, and whether the oil proceeds will be equitably shared in a society sharply divided along ethnic lines.

Since then, a colossal oil market slump has complicated the country's outlook further.

''Our people have to feel they are apart of it,'' said Newell Dennison. head of Guyana's oil exploration regulator, about the bonanza. There are fundamental issues about the country's direction that ought to be addressed at the national level. I'm concerned it's not happening as it should.''

Since Exxon made an initial discovery of crude about 120 miles off the Guyanese coast in 2015, it started one of the biggest underwater geological surveys in the industry's history and landed a remarkable string 16-world class discoveries.

Last year lone, Exxon took credit for five of the six biggest oil finds, all in Guyanese waters.

A consortium led by Exxon plans to produce 750,000 barrels a day by 2025 from the Guyanese fields - an enormous addition to its current global production of million barrels a day.

The bonanza came in good time for the company. Even before the collapse of crude prices in February,

Exxon had to write off billions of dollars of investment in Canadian oil sands and sell assets in the North sea., in part to pay investor dividends.

''It is a huge resource that keeps getting bigger,'' said Jennifer C. Rowland, a senior analyst at the Edward Jones investment company, of Exxon's Guyana fields. ''it is a critical part of their portfolio.''

Exxon executives insist that their discoveries will improve life for Guyana's 750,000 residents.

''There are those who are unsure, or even skeptical about the oil industry or what it brings to Guyana,'' said Hunter Farris, an Exxon senior vice president, at a recent energy conference in the capital, Georgetown.

''We are here to partner with Guyana and its people.''

The honor and serving of the latest operational research on Oil and Future, continues. The World Students Society thanks authors Anatoly Kurmanaley and Clifford Krauss.


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