Energy profile: Guyana

From Global Energy Monitor


This page is part of Global Energy Monitor's Latin America Energy Portal.
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Fuel mix (fossil fuels vs renewables)

Annual CO2 emissions in Guyana 1990-2019, Source: Our World in Data

More than 90% of Guyana's total energy supply comes from fossil fuels, with the remainder derived from renewables such as wood and sugar cane residue.[1] Fossil fuels accounted for more than 85% of installed capacity and nearly 97% of electrical generation in 2020, complemented by small contributions from biofuels, wind, and solar energy.[1] Guyana's officially stated goal is to double its energy efficiency by 2030 and to approach 100% renewable energy generation by 2040[2], though development of the country's recently discovered fossil fuel resources could interfere with these targets.

Greenhouse gas emissions targets

Until recently, mining and logging have accounted for most of Guyana's greenhouse gas emissions.[3] The majority of Guyana's 2.39 million tons of CO2 emissions (3.05 tons per capita) in 2019 were associated with forestry and changes in land use.[4] Guyana's emerging status as a major oil and gas producer is expected to substantially increase the country's greenhouse gas emissions.[5] Guyana's Nationally Determined Contribution plan sets no specific emissions reduction target, but calls for mitigation measures such as land conservation, reduced impact logging and increased emphasis on renewable energy.[3]

Government energy agencies & other key players

National energy ministry

GEA (Guyana Energy Agency) is responsible for developing Guyana's national energy policy and securing its implementation.[6]

As of 2021, the GEA is tasked with growing the labor participation of locals by providing training programs to meet the employment demands expected to peak in 2027.[7]

Permitting and regulatory agencies

MNR (the Ministry of Natural Resources) oversees the GGMC (Guyana Geology and Mines Commission), GFC (Guyana Forestry Commission), Guyana Gold Board, and the PCG (Petroleum Commission of Guyana). The MNR is responsible for the development, implementation, and oversight of policies in Guyana regarding the exploration, development, utilization, and conservation of natural resources.[8]

Electric utilities

Guyana's state-owned electricity company GPL (Guyana Power and Light Inc.) holds a monopoly on power generation.[9]

National oil company

The Petroleum Commission of Guyana was slated to become the primary entity governing Guyana's oil and gas industry by the end of 2021.[10][11] Early responsibilities for the Petroleum Commission include management of bidding by international oil companies for acreage both onshore and offshore while also changing how it negotiates and finalizes contracts for exploration.[12]

Leading energy companies

Foreign energy companies hold many petroleum blocks in Guyana. Companies of note include ExxonMobil, Hess Corporation, Anadarko Petroleum Company, CGX, and Eco Atlantic.[13][14][15]

Electricity usage

Installed capacity

Guyanese Electrical Generation in 2020, Source: ETI

As of 2020, Guyana has an installed electrical capacity of 337 MW, based on a mix of fossil fuels (85.27%), biomass (12.46%), solar (2.26%) and wind energy (0.01%).[1] However, over a quarter of electricity is lost during transmission and distribution due to faulty infrastructure.[2]


Guyana produced 1136 GWh of electricity in 2020, sourced 96.81% from fossil fuels and 3.19% from renewables.[1] As of 2021, Guyana Power and Light controls 100% of production. The company has received criticism due to the lack of reliable electricity, high cost, and outdated transmission and distribution lines.[9] The Guyanese government took steps starting in 2020 to lower the cost of electricity primarily through energy diversification efforts.[16]


In 2018, electricity demand was 124.9 MW.[2] As of 2020, 89.7% of the urban population and 80.3% of the rural population had access to electricity.[2] Programs are in place to promote access of rural populations to mostly renewables-based small scale grids.[3][17]


In 2019, Guyana consumed 0.79 billion KWH of energy.[9] Electricity in Guyana is costly, which poses major challenges for residents and businesses.[9][18]

Coal in Guyana

Guyana does not produce, consume, or import coal. [19]

Oil & Natural Gas in Guyana

Domestic Production

Guyana: projections on cash flow developments from oil production operations (constant USD billion), Source: Rystad Energy

The Guyanese government maintains control over offshore oil development and production.[20] Guyana has been a country of interest since the discovery of the Liza I oil field in 2015, which has led to extensive exploration investments and further discoveries in offshore blocks such as Stabroek and Kaieteur.[14][15][21][22] According to recent estimates, Guyana will become ExxonMobil's greatest single source of fossil fuels worldwide by 2025, with Guyanese oil and gas production outpacing yields from the company's Permian Basin fields in Texas.[23] Guyana needs to close the gaps in technical and administrative capacity required for successful management and regulation of the oil industry.[21]

Imports & source countries

Refined petroleum was Guyana's largest import (26.4%) during June 2020 and crude petroleum was its largest export (43.3%).[24]

Proposed new sources & projects

Guyana intends to amp up its use of domestically produced natural gas to reduce costs and displace fuel oil power plants.[18][25] In 2021, the Guyanese government announced a partnership with ExxonMobil to bring more natural gas to the country via the proposed Liza Gas Pipeline and a new natural gas-to-shore facility on the site of the abandoned Wales Estate Sugar Processing Plant.[25]

Due to the number of oil discoveries in Guyanese territory the country is forecasted to produce more than 800,000 barrels of crude oil per day by 2026 which is made more desireable for oil companies because of the favorable conditions (high quality crude oil, low breakeven prices, and a favorable regulatory environment).[26] Discoveries by ExxonMobil, Total Energies, and Tullow Oil estimate Guyana has 10 billion barrels of crude reserves.[27]

Renewable Energy in Guyana

© 2020 The World Bank, Source: Global Solar Atlas 2.0, Solar resource data: Solargis.

Guyana's government has identified wind, solar, biomass, and hydroelectricity as four key elements in its proposal to generate 100% of the country's electricity from renewable sources.[3] The country has potential for both small- and large-scale hydropower[3][9], including the proposed 165 MW Amaila Falls project.[28] Tax concessions and capital write offs are in place for wind and solar investments.[9] Guyana experiences an average of 12 hours of sunlight throughout the year, making it ideal for solar development.[29]

As of November 2021, solar projects are focused on providing power to remote indigenous communities with larger scale wind and solar projects contributing more substantially to the energy matrix between 2027 and 2032.[30]

Guyana plans to expand hydropower capacity in order to meet power demands.[31]

Environmental & social impacts of energy in Guyana

Map: Projected impact on Caribbean region from a serious oil spill off Guyana (Source: Nuka Research

Experts have expressed concern about negative environmental and human rights impacts associated with ExxonMobil's rapid development of offshore oil and gas reserves, citing weak governmental oversight and the potential for a major spill as ExxonMobil ramps up production to 800,000 barrels per day by 2025.[23][32] A 2021 study estimated that a serious oil spill off Guyana's coast could impact most of the Caribbean region, traveling as far north as Cuba, Haiti and the Dominican Republic, and as far west as coastal Honduras and Nicaragua.[33]

Small island and coastal low-lying developing states such as Guyana are especially vulnerable to the catastrophic weather events associated with climate change.[3] While many have touted the environmental benefits of reduced CO2 emissions associated with the government's planned transition from heavy oil to domestically produced natural gas[18], increased methane emissions from natural gas development may pose an offsetting risk of adverse climate impacts.[34]

Sea level rise, flooding, pollution, and salt water contaminating wells and aquifers are the primary climate change concerns for Guyana before 2030.[35] Georgetown is predicted to be one of nine major cities in the world underwater by 2030 if there is no change in greenhouse gas emission projections.[36][37] However, the economic incentives of oil development have lead to officials in Guyana overlooking the environmental and social impacts; the International Monetary Fund projected a rise in GDP per capita of $8,140 between 2021 and 2026.[37] A 2020 Reel documentary captures the urgency of "overtopping" of sea walls in Guyana.


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  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 "Guyana's Revised Intended Nationally Determined Contribution" (PDF). Government of Guyana. May 20, 2016.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
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  7. newsamericas (2021-11-06). "The Seesaw Dilemma: Matching Guyana's Labor Force With Its Energy Bonanza". Caribbean and Latin America Daily News. Retrieved 2021-12-02.
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  15. 15.0 15.1 "Worldwide Oil & Gas Exploration". Hess Corporation. Retrieved 2021-06-12.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
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  17. "Guyana — Climatescope 2017". Climatescope 2017. Retrieved 2021-05-04.
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  27. "Guyana Is Walking A Fine Line With Its Oil Boom". Retrieved 2021-12-03.
  28. "Guyana government says 165-MW Amaila Falls hydro "will become a reality" | Hydro Review". Hydro Review. February 15, 2021.
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  36. Arsenault, Chris. "With oil boom, Guyana walks a tightrope on growth and climate". Retrieved 2021-12-03.
  37. 37.0 37.1 "Guyana is a poor country that was a green champion. Then Exxon discovered oil". Retrieved 2021-12-03.