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Exxon launches oil production off Guyana's coast

ExxonMobil said Friday night that the company has begun oil production off the coast of Guyana, where the energy giant has made a string of huge discoveries in recent years.

Why it matters: Guyana is a major focus of Exxon's portfolio, and the development is slated to make the South American nation the world's newest substantial oil producer.

What's next: Exxon said output is slated to reach 120,000 barrels per day in the coming months.

  • The company hopes to ramp up production to more than 750,000 barrels per day by 2025.
  • Exxon heads a consortium that also includes Hess Corp. and China's CNOOC Ltd.

But, but, but: Bloomberg notes there are questions about how the country's revenues will be managed, and as we reported in the Axios Generate newsletter last year, some critics see Guyana's agreement with Exxon as tilted in the company's favor.

"While the country has established a sovereign wealth fund, it has been slow to develop regulations to govern the sector and there’s no set plan on how the money will be spent," Bloomberg reports.

What they're saying: Guyanese President David Granger, in a video address, said oil production will be a "transformative process in the country's economic development," providing jobs, better services and more.

  • He said the government will employ best practices as it builds the "institutional, legislative and regulatory capability" to oversee the sector and prudently manage revenues.
  • Exxon CEO Darren Woods said they're working with the Guyanese on a "long-term vision of responsible resource development that maximizes benefits for all."

Go deeper: The surprising next oil superpower