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Venezuela’s aggression a setback to some offshore oil exploration

The Research Vessel, Teknik Perdana

Guyana’s Minister of Natural Resources, Robert Persaud on Monday said offshore exploration in areas being contested by neighbouring Venezuela is facing “some setback.”

In apparent reference to the expulsion and temporary seizure of the Malaysian seismic research vessel, RV Teknik Perdana, by Venezuela’s Navy last year, he told a bipartisan House Committee on Natural Resources that Guyana was depending on an eventual resolution in its favour.

“It has created some level of setback in those particular areas where we have seen the intrusion by the Venezuelan Naval representatives. However, we are engaged with the companies that might be affected and we remain optimistic that those matters will be resolved in a manner that will allow us to proceed with those activities,” he said

Persaud added that activities outside of that zone were proceeding apace.

The research vessel, which was hired by the United States-headquartered Anadarko Petroleum Corporation, was seized by the Venezuelan Navy on October 9, 2013 while it was in Atlantic Ocean waters off the Essequibo Coast. Guyana has granted an oil exploration concession to Anadarko

Shortly after the vessel was released, Foreign Ministers from the neighbouring South American countries had agreed that technical teams from both sides would have discussed the way forward on maritime boundary delimitation.

Venezuela maintains its claim over the mineral and forest rich Essequibo Region, while Guyana maintains that the Arbitral Tribunal Award of 1899 is a full and final settlement of the borders. The land border controversy has been in the hands of the United Nations Secretary General for several decades now.