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Wednesday, February 28, 2024

ExxonMobil to probe for oil and gasoline in offshore space underneath dispute by Guyana and Venezuela

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GEORGETOWN, Guyana — ExxonMobil mentioned it plans to probe for oil and gasoline in a disputed space off South America’s coast the place the Venezuelan army had beforehand expelled two U.S. oil corporations. The transfer may escalate tensions between Venezuela and neighboring Guyana, which awarded the exploration license.

Guyana considers the realm a part of its Essequibo area, however Venezuela has lengthy claimed it as its personal, holding a referendum in December through which voters supported a push to annex it.

Robert Persaud, Guyana’s international secretary, informed The Related Press on Wednesday that ExxonMobil has each proper to work in that area “as a result of it’s inside established Guyana waters in a totally demarcated space.”

The oil large mentioned Tuesday that it expects to drill two exploratory wells north and west of its prolific Stabroek block, the place three oil fields are producing near 650,000 barrels of oil a day.

The president of ExxonMobil Guyana, Alistair Routledge, informed reporters that the concessions have been granted by Guyana and that the corporate is dedicated to its operations regardless of the nation’s ongoing tensions with Venezuela.

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“We aren’t going anyplace,” he mentioned.

Earlier makes an attempt to probe for oil and gasoline in that space have failed. In 2019, ExxonMobil was compelled to desert exploration actions after a Venezuelan army helicopter tried to land on a seismic vessel. And in 2013, officers aboard a Venezuelan gunboat detained the crew of a seismic vessel contracted by a Texas petroleum firm for every week earlier than releasing them.

The newest push by ExxonMobil comes as Guyana and Venezuela put together to fulfill for a second time to try to diffuse the dispute over the Essequibo area. Following mediation talks in December, either side agreed to not threaten or use pressure in opposition to one another however failed to achieve a decision.

In the meantime, the U.S. authorities is growing its army support to Guyana and has promised to assist purchase new plane, helicopters, a fleet of army drones and, for the primary time, radar know-how.

Essequibo is a mineral-rich territory that accounts for two-thirds of Guyana and lies close to massive offshore oil deposits. Navy confrontation with Venezuela seems unlikely for now, however a number of nations have echoed Guyana’s considerations over an annexation by its neighbor to the west.

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