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Project September 22, 2021

Inside Guyana’s Struggle To Avoid the Resource Curse



Industry insiders consider it one of the biggest new oil finds in decades: billions of barrels of crude located off the coast of Guyana.

A former U.S. ambassador to the South American country predicted that by 2025 the nation of less than one million people “will become the richest in the hemisphere and potentially the richest in the world.”

Oil companies such as Exxon, China’s CNOOC, and Hess Corp., along with smaller Canadian firms, are working to access the offshore crude, changing Guyana’s onshore reality in the process.

As oil transforms the country’s economy, transparency campaigners are eager to make sure Guyana doesn’t fall prey to the so-called resource curse, when new energy wealth leaves a country poorer, more corrupt, and less democratic than it was before.

With about 75 percent of Guyana covered by rainforest, environmentalists are working to protect largely untouched areas of the Amazon from encroachment amid the energy boom, as climate change threatens coast lines and traditional livelihoods.

This series of reports for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and the Thomson Reuters Foundation will examine how oil is transforming Guyana, taking in the voices of politicians, environmentalists, corporate
officials, campaigners and local residents on how one of the world’s newest petroleum players can avoid the resource curse amid the global climate emergency.


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Environment and Climate Change

Environment and Climate Change