Venezuela has objected to the planned offshore exploration for oil in local waters by US company Exxon, which is being seen as another effort by Caracas to thwart Guyana’s search for petroleum.
The move has prompted the Foreign Affairs Ministry to write its counterpart in Venezuela urging that its government desist from actions that could contravene international law and prevent development.
Exxon earlier this month announced that an oil rig had been dispatched from Louisiana for the Stabroek Block offshore Guyana where it is expected to start drilling in mid-March.
According to a statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Delcy Rodríguez sent communication to the Country Manager of Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Limited, objecting to the dispatch of a rig to proceed with the exploration of an oil well in the concession granted by the Government of Guyana. As a result, it said the Government of Guyana has dispatched a Note Verbale to the Venezuelan Foreign Ministry.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has requested that the Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela desist from taking any actions that could only result in the stymieing of the development of Guyana and its people and that would be in contravention of international law,” it said.
The Ministry added that it also informed Caricom, UNASUR, the Organisation of American States, the Commonwealth as well as the United Nations Secretary General about the recent action by Venezuela.
In October 2013, Caracas seized a vessel MV Teknik Perdana in Guyana’s waters while it was gathering data. The captain and crew were later released but Caracas has since refused to address the substantive matter, offering a series of excuses. Guyana’s foreign ministry has been unable to convince it to move the process along.
The MV Teknik Perdana was indirectly under contract with Anadarko Petroleum Corporation of the US to explore the Roraima Block with a view to determining whether commercial quantities of hydrocarbon existed. Those exploration plans have now been put on hold.