ExxonMobil’s rig, Deepwater Champion is in place and is less than a week away from the commencement of drilling for oil in the “Liza” area of the Stabroek Block off the Demerara Coast.
Country Manager, Jeff Simon told Stabroek News yesterday “I’m looking forward to getting this well down,” when asked how far along the process was now that the offshore rig was in place.
He said that right now system checks were currently ongoing and that the rig arrived on schedule and the process has been smooth. He noted that concerns raised by the Venezuelan government would not deter ExxonMobil from continuing as planned.
The Venezuelan authorities have had a long history of objecting to drilling in Guyana’s waters and seized the MV Teknik Perdana in October 13, 2013.
The MV Teknik Perdana was contracted to US oil company Anadarko Petroleum Corporation Inc to explore the company’s Roraima Block offshore Guyana with a view to determining whether commercial quantities of hydrocarbons existed there.
Since the incident, proposed meetings between technical teams from Georgetown and Caracas to discuss the delimitation of the maritime boundaries of Guyana and Venezuela have not proven fruitful.
Guyana has been adamant that the ship was intercepted in this country’s 200-mile Exclusive Economic Zone.
The 36-man multinational crew on the Malaysian-owned (Sapura-Kencana Pet-roleum) and the Panamanian registered oil survey vessel included scientists from the Texas-based researcher TDI-Brooks International.
The ship was intercepted by a Venezuelan naval vessel, the Yakuana, then ordered and escorted to the island of Margarita. Venezuelan authorities charged the captain of the vessel and exploration plans of Anadarko have been shelved.
The location of the Exxon rig is well within Guyana’s waters. The Guyana Foreign Ministry on Saturday responded to Venezuelan Foreign Minister Delcy Rodríguez’s communication to the Country Manager of Esso Explora-tion and Production Guyana Limited, objecting to the dispatch of the rig.
The Government of Guyana then dispatched a Note Verbale to the Venezuelan Foreign Minis-try.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has requested that the Govern-ment 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.
Guyana has 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.