José A. Alvarado Jr.

Photographer
 
Location: New York City, New York
Nationality: Puerto Rican American
Biography: José A. Alvarado Jr. is a Puerto Rican photographer dedicated to documenting class inequality, civic engagement, and contemporary issues in Puerto Rico and New York City. He works primarily in long-form storytelling, using visual imagery... MORE
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for Bloomberg: Guyana Is Trying to Keep Its Oil Blessing From Becoming a Curse
josé a. alvarado jr.
Feb 16, 2024
Summary
The tiny Caribbean nation has the fastest-growing economy in the world, but the boom is stoking challenges from inflation and a growing wealth gap to the looming threat of conflict with Venezuela
Guyana has undergone a huge transformation in the near decade since a massive oil discovery off its shores. That’s on full display at the Georgetown Marriott hotel.

By sundown, oil executives in branded shirts step out of vans and mingle with tables of development bank officials, already debriefing over yucca balls and iced beers. A basic room at the chronically sold-out hotel can cost more than $600 on an average night in January. Those prices nearly triple by the time Guyana’s annual oil conference starts in mid-February, drawing in big energy CEOs and world leaders to the tiny nation of 800,000.

The arrival of the “Marriott crew” is a sign of the change that’s swept the country since Exxon Mobil Corp. struck oil in its waters in 2015. New wells pump out 645,000 barrels everyday, which resulted in $1.6 billion in revenue for Guyana’s government in 2023. The nation’s economy quadrupled in size over the last five years, going from one of the lowest performing in the region to the fastest growing in the world for two years straight. The oil deposits are so large relative to Guyana’s population that some projections show it overtaking Kuwait to become the world’s largest per-capita crude producer, accounting for 16% of net growth in oil supply through 2028.

The blind optimism whispered within the hotel’s walls, however, is loudly challenged once you step outside.

Photographed for Bloomberg, with words by


World's Fastest-Growing Economy Tries to Avoid the Oil Wealth Curse
Guyana has the fastest-growing economy in the world, but the boom is stoking challenges from inflation and a growing wealth gap to the looming threat of conflict with Venezuela
Bloomberg.com
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for Bloomberg: Guyana Is Trying to Keep Its Oil Blessing From Becoming a Curse by José A. Alvarado Jr.
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