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GEORGETOWN, Dec 20 (Reuters) - Guyana joined the ranks of the world's oil producers for the first time on Friday as U.S. oil company Exxon Mobil said it began producing crude off the coast of the South American country.
President David Granger hailed the development in an address to the nation, predicting the revenues from oil would prove "transformative" for the underdeveloped economy.
The Exxon-led consortium, which also includes Hess Corp and China's CNOOC, plans to produce 120,000 barrels-per-day (bdp) from the Liza well in the coming months. The Stabroek block, where the well is located, is expected to produce 750,000 bpd by 2025, Exxon said.
Guyana's president said the first oil output would usher in a "decade of development" and that the government would manage oil resources prudently.
"Petroleum production has brought the prospects of a higher quality of life closer to our households and neighbourhoods. It is a momentous event," Granger said. "Every Guyanese will benefit from petroleum production. No one will be left behind."
Exxon said it expected to sell the first cargo from the Liza well in the next several weeks. The Guyanese government is separately conducting an tender process to sell the first three cargoes of the oil it is entitled to under its contract with the consortium.
The consortium has discovered more than 6 billion barrels of recoverable oil and gas in the Stabroek block. (Reporting by Neil Marks Writing by Luc Cohen Editing by Sandra Maler & Simon Cameron-Moore)