Guyana celebrates first oil shipment

Five years after Guyana’s discovery of large quantities of oil and gas near its coast, the South American country is finally selling its first barrels. 

And it’s expecting to receive four more shipments this year as part of a deal with ExxonMobil Corp and partners including Hess Corp

The shipment is being hailed as an historic event by the Department of Energy. It said .

The boat set sail from Guyana overnight on Thursday and is bound for Barbados, where it will be sold to markets including the US.

Energy Department Director Mark Bynoe said he expected Guyana to directly earn $300 million from its share of oil sales this year, with Guyana receiving 52 percent of profits as part of a 2016 deal.

And the revenue is expected to generate an estimated $168 billion over the life of the project, representing 120 times Guyana’s annual budget.

The offshore fields are estimated to contain one of the world’s largest reserves at more than 8 billion barrels.

Oil and gas are expected to overtake gold, sugar, rice and timber as Guyana’s main exports.