Venezuela says oil operations in Guyana violates agreement

Last Updated on Friday, 17 March 2017, 6:01 by Denis Chabrol

ExxonMobil’s Stabroek Block concession offshore Guyana.

GEORGETOWN, Guyana (Caribbean Media Corporation) — The Energy and Petroleum Commission in Venezuela has rejected the oil operations in Guyana’s Essequibo region.

According to a report in El Nacional — a Venezuelan newspaper, the Energy and Petroleum Commission of its National Assembly said that it is convinced that the ongoing oil exploration violates the Geneva agreement of 1966 and Article 10 of The Bolivarian Constitution of Venezuela, “which clearly establishes the Venezuelan territory”.

Venezuela has been claiming Guyana’s territory for several decades although the issue was settled since 1899.

According to the report, vice-president of the parliamentary body, deputy for Zulia, Elías Matta, tabled the draft agreement, explaining that, “As stipulated in Article 5 of the Geneva Agreement, no resource can be exploited if there is no agreement between both nations”.

“Deputy Matta said the Guyana government carried out the expansion of oil prospecting operations in May 2015, in which Exxon-Mobil reported a discovery at the Liza-1 well on the Stabroek and Block.

Likewise, on November 17, 2016, the commercialisation of the same was announced, estimating its recoverable resources between 800 million and 1.4 billion barrels of high quality crude oil belonging to the coastal waters of the Essequibo”, the report noted.

The Commission wants the Venezuelan government to send this “agreement” to the new UN Good Officer for the Guyana/Venezuela conflict.

The Venezuelan Parliamentary Commission also wants the UN official “to immediately suspend all operations carried out within the maritime area corresponding to the territory in claim until the dispute is resolved.”

The UN Good Officer has no such powers, according to local officials familiar with the process.

Venezuela has consistently been raising its voice about the border controversy since the announcement of the oil discovery in Guyana’s territorial waters.

Two years ago, the Venezuelan President had issued a decree claiming Guyana’s territorial waters, where the oil exploration was taking place but that decree was eventually recalled.

President David Granger has said that the Guyana/ Venezuela border row was settled way back in 1899 and a judicial settlement might now be needed to settle it once and for all.