According to an OpenOil analysis commissioned by Global Witness, the deal Natural Resources Minister Trotman obtained is an exceptionally bad one. OpenOil estimates that Guyana stands to lose up to US$55 billion under Exxon’s Stabroek deal.

This analysis compares the financial terms of the Exxon license with global industry norms and customary investor profitability. And it concludes that – in a country with an annual budget of US$1.4 billion – Guyana will receive US$168 billion instead of the possible US$223 billion it would get with a deal closer to other countries.

A copy of OpenOil’s analysis – entitled How much revenue will Guyana lose out on in Stabroek? – is available at

Exxon, Trotman, and Guyana’s Foreign Minister Carl Greenidge have all denied that the Stabroek deal is bad and challenged OpenOil’s assumptions.
OpenOil’s analysis concludes that Exxon’s deal is unfairly exploitative. It finds that Guyana will receive up to US$55 billion less than it should from the Stabroek license; an average of US$1.3 billion per year.

Based on a comparison with oil deals in other countries, OpenOil believes Guyana should receive 69% of Stabroek’s oil revenues, which would be a fair share. Under its current Exxon deal, Guyana receives only 52% of oil revenues from Stabroek. As outlined in OpenOil’s analysis, some countries like Israel, Mauritania, and Mozambique do allow companies to drill with a government share of revenues around 50%. However, these government shares are low because they are for gas extraction, which has smaller profit margins, and not oil extraction, like in Guyana. IMF surveys show that, for oil licenses, a normal government share would be between 65 and 85%.

OpenOil argued that if Guyana received 69% of Stabroek’s oil revenues, it is estimated that the country would net another US$55 billion over the lifetime of the license. Instead of receiving US$168 billion, Guyana would receive US$223 billion.

Based on these estimates, this amounts to an average annual loss of US$1.3 billion in government revenue. These losses will, of course, vary each year. In 2025, for example, it is estimated Guyana will lose US$956 million because Exxon will still be paying off its capital expenditures. However, between 2027 and 2037 – after costs have been paid and when production is at its highest – Guyana could lose an average of US$3 billion annually.

Exxon can afford Guyana increasing its oil revenue share to 69 percent. Even if Guyana renegotiates Stabroek, estimates show that Exxon will still get a return on its investment of 18 percent.


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