Latin America is set to become a major oil producer this decade
- Brazil and Guyana are preparing for a bonanza. But declining demand threatens the rest of the region
In deep blue waters off the coast of Guyana, gargantuan ships are sucking oil from reservoirs three kilometres below the surface. These machines are transforming the fortunes of one of South America’s smallest and poorest countries. In 2015 ExxonMobil, an American oil giant, found the first of what are now around 11bn barrels of proven crude oil reserves, or around 0.6% of the world’s total. Production began three years ago, and is now picking up pace. By 2028 it could reach 1.2m barrels a day—a rate that today would make Guyana one of the top 20 oil producers. That is a stunning bonanza for a country of only 800,000 inhabitants. Foreign politicians no longer struggle to find it on the map. On July 6th Antony Blinken, the US secretary of state, paid a visit.