Nascent oil producer Guyana is not interested in joining the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Guyanese Vice-President Bharrat Jagdeo said on Monday, as the South American country looks to rapidly boost production and attract new operators.
Guyana - which has become one of fastest growing crude-oil producers in the world since it began producing oil commercially in 2019 - has been invited to attend OPEC's international seminar in July, Jagdeo said, but there was no invitation to become a member of the cartel.
"We were not formally invited to join OPEC. That is not something we are interested in. We have been invited, however, to participate in OPEC meetings," Jagdeo told Reuters.
The Ministry of Natural Resources said the country was invited to attend the July meeting in Vienna and participate in a ministerial panel on diversifying energy economies.
The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday that Saudi Arabia's energy minister, Abdulaziz bin Salman, and Haitham al-Ghais, OPEC's secretary-general, have invited Guyana to join the cartel.
Guyana is planning an oil auction within a couple of months in hopes it can bring in other oil and gas companies.
An Exxon Mobil Corp-led consortium currently controls all offshore output in Guyana under a production and sharing agreement in which Exxon decides the pace of production and shares a piece of the output with the government.
"We are committed to responsibly developing the resources offshore Guyana to maximize value for all stakeholders, including the government and people of Guyana," said Exxon spokesperson Meghan Macdonald in response to questions about the country and OPEC.
The company and the country are in talks over which unexplored offshore areas will be returned to the government, people close to the discussions have told Reuters.
The country is using its inland forests to tap carbon markets, in a business the government sees as more profitable than using the acreage for mining or agriculture, Jagdeo has previously said.
(Reuters - Reporting by Kiana Wilburg, additional reporting by Sabrina ValleWriting by Julia Symmes Cobb; Editing by Sandra Maler)