Guyana not worried about Venezuela taking action against ExxonMobil

Last Updated on Thursday, 7 July 2016, 15:30 by Denis Chabrol

Foreign Affairs Minister, Carl Greenidge said he is not worried that neighbouring Venezuela would take action offshore Guyana where an American oil company has discovered at least 1.4 million barrels of oil.

At the same time, he said that Guyana was not taking anything for granted. “No, I am not worried but it pays to be prudent and cautious in this world and that is what we have been doing all the time,”  he said.

Venezuela’s navy in 2013 intercepted a seismic research vessel, Teknik Perdana, while it had been examining the seafloor for the Texas-based Anadarko Petroleum company.

Shortly after ExxonMobil had announced in mid 2015 that it had found a significant oil deposit offshore Guyana, Venezuela’s President had issued a decree unilaterally extending its maritime boundary. While the volume of recoverable oil has been announced, experts say commercial production is not expected to begin until another four years.

While exploratory work was being conducted in that area, the Venezuelan government had written ExxonMobil’s local subsidiary warning them to desist from being in that area because it was Venezuela’s

The Guyanese Foreign Minister said his country was continuing its diplomatic initiatives to have the land border controversy settled by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) also known as the World Court.

President David Granger later told a closing news conference of the 37th regular Caricom Summit that as far as his administration was concerned the United Nations ‘Good Officer’ mediation process has been virtually come to an end. “That process has been exhausted,” he said, adding that the United Nations Secretary General has appointed an officer from his office to shuttle between the two countries to find a way forward.

Granger is eager for the United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon to order that the controversy over the 1899 Arbitral Tribunal Award be referred to the World Court before he demits office in another four months. “We hope that by the time the United Nations Secretary General demits office by the end of this year we would have information confirming that we are going to go to court to settle this long-standing dispute, something that has affected us for the last fifty years,” he said.