Case Study: Banking on Climate Change 2020

By Monica Schrock

Guyana, a small South American country with less than one million people, is a newcomer to oil production at a time when the world must move away from fossil fuels. ExxonMobil, Hess, and China National Offshore Oil Corporation declared the start of oil production in late 2019, extracting from depths of over 1,500 meters. Production is expected to soar to over one million barrels per day by 2030.

Corruption, mismanagement, authoritarian government, and damage to the environment threaten Guyana’s future development; the country’s allegedly fraud-ridden election in March 2020 is inextricable from tension over who will reap the rewards from oil development. Many locals are concerned about this oil production, which faces ongoing litigation in the Guyana courts.

While it may be public banks that end up directly financing the latest exploration bonanza, JPMorgan Chase, Citi, Bank of America, and Barclays were the leading private bankers of the companies behind it in 2019.