South American country Guyana has sold $750 million worth of carbon credits to Hess, a U.S. oil firm that drills off the coast of the tiny nation that is 89% virgin forest.
The country’s President Irfaan Ali, who signed the agreement with Hess in Guyana’s capital Georgetown, said the deal was “historic for corporations, voluntary markets, industries, countries and for forested countries.”
Hess CEO John Hess said the agreement “would serve to protect the country’s vast forests, one of the largest carbon sinks in the world, and provide capital to improve the lives of Guyana’s citizens through investments made by the government as part of its low carbon development strategy.”
Together with China National Offshore Oil Corporation and ExxonMobil, Hess operates in the huge Stabroek oil field off the Guyanan coast.
Guyana, with 800,000 inhabitants, has the most reserves per capita in the world – more than 10 billion barrels of oil equivalent – ahead even of Brunei, Kuwait, or the United Arab Emirates.
As part of the deal, Hess will pay the $750 million within the next 18 months.
18 million hectares, or 89% of Guyana’s forest, is still intact and stores 19.5 gigatonnes of carbon, worth an estimated $40-50 billion annually, Ali said.
Guyana also has the second-highest percentage of forest cover on earth.
$112 million from the Hess Corporation purchase of carbon credits would go to indigenous communities, said the country’s Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo.