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GEORGETOWN, Dec 24 (Reuters) - Guyana said on Tuesday that Royal Dutch Shell's trading unit had won the rights to market the government's first three cargoes of crude oil, just days after oil production began off the South American country's coast.
An Exxon Mobil-led consortium, which also includes Hess Corp and China's CNOOC Ltd, began producing crude from the Liza well on Friday. The companies have discovered more than six billion barrels of recoverable oil and gas in the Stabroek block, where Liza is located.
Guyana has no history of oil production nor any domestic refining capacity, so it launched an auction last week to sell the first three cargoes the government is entitled to under the contract. It plans to search for a partner for a longer-term deal to market the government's share of crude early next year.
In a statement, Guyana's Department of Energy said Shell Western Supply and Trading had been chosen from a group of nine listed international oil companies that presented proposals because its "competitive pricing" would protect the government from volatility.
The government added that Shell demonstrated "willingness to share critical refinery information" to help it understand characteristics of Liza's crude, a new grade.
The Department of Energy did not reveal the price at which it had sold the cargoes to Shell.
"The sale has been premised on a Dated Brent price basis which reflects the tradable, spot market value of crude oil," the statement read. (Reporting by Neil Marks; Writing by Luc Cohen. Editing by Jane Merriman and Mark Potter)