I am writing in reference to an article published in the Sunday May 28th edition of the Kaieteur News, with the caption “Countries within pathway of potential oil spill from Guyana have US$140 billion in economic activity at risk”. The article quoted international financial analyst, Tom Sanzillo. The analyst in a recent article argued that the Caribbean countries within proximity, produce more than US$140 billion annually largely based on their maritime and tourism sectors.
Editor, I am deeply perplexed as to how this genius international financial analyst arrived at his number of over US$140 billion for a few CARICOM countries, when the total GDP for the entire CARICOM as of 2022 is an estimated US$100 billion, the tourism sector of CARICOM accounts for about 16% of GDP which will translate to US$16 billion. The marine sector accounts for 1.5% of global GDP which stands at approximately US$100 trillion. In the United States, the marine sector accounts for about 1.7% of GDP. So, we can safely extrapolate that the regional marine sector accounts for 1.5% of the region’s GDP which would translate to US$1.5 billion giving rise to a total of US$17.5 billion for the two sectors combined, thereby accounting for 17.5% of the region’s GDP.
With the foregoing in mind, Tom Sanzillo, who did not demonstrate how he arrived at US$140 billion, as I have done above, has effectively inflated his number by 700%.
More so, his argument is framed within the context of what an oil spill liability would look like in any such event. However, he has failed to consider to what extent will the capping stack minimize the impact of a spill once deployed within the prescribed timeframe as per the Environmental Permit.
It would be good for Tom to provide some clarifications and explanations on his calculations as well as a proper assessment of an oil spill risk considering the risk mitigation strategies in place.
Public Policy and Financial Analyst