CARICOM's Energy Security Dilemma… Can Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, and Suriname Break New Ground?


In an era of increasing geopolitical upheavals and economic volatility, energy security has become a non-negotiable priority for Caribbean nations. Recognising the importance of achieving this goal, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, and Suriname have stepped up to marry their respective strengths and produce a practical blueprint for energy independence. Towards this end, the trio has signed several non-binding agreements over the years. Following high-level discussions at the Suriname Energy Oil and Gas Summit (SEOGS) in June 2023, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago signed an agreement to establish technical teams to produce feasibility studies on various energy-related issues. Guyana and T&T also signed a similar pact in May 2022, building on another signed in January 2022 with Brazil and Suriname to explore the development of an energy corridor. 

Trinidad & Tobago, Guyana sign Energy MOU – MAY 22, 2022 (Guyana’s Department of Public Information photo)

Their political will is also imbued with the efforts of CARICOM, which more than two decades ago endeavoured to have its 15 member states find common ground on devising a strategy for energy security.

Oil Secrets of Suriname: Public Largely in the Dark as Offshore Dreams Deferred

For the people of Suriname, offshore oil is supposed to be a game-changer. As they have struggled through a protracted economic crisis over the past decade, they have watched lucrative deep-water discoveries transform neighbouring Guyana. They have also heard their own leaders promise that a similar oil boom will come soon to Suriname, bringing badly needed jobs and wealth for the country’s more than 600,000 people and helping resolve a debt crisis that recently led to riots in the capital. But the people are still waiting. The Final Investment Decision for Suriname’s first deep-water drilling project has been deferred repeatedly, and mounting frustration with the delay has highlighted the secrecy surrounding the nascent industry. 

“We should at least know what kind of contracts have been made, and don’t come up with stories that it’s confidential between us and [foreign oil companies],” Surinamese environmentalist Erlan Sleur told the Caribbean Investigative Journalism Network.