ExxonMobil set to drill in contested waters off Guyana

Guyana’s Government Information Agency (GINA) has informed that the Deepwater Champion drillship is in position at the Stabroek Block, offshore Guyana. The drillship is scheduled to start drilling for ExxonMobil today, March 5, 2015. 

According to the agency, this oil exploration project is worth $200 million.

However, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Guyana, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Venezuela wrote to ExxonMobil objecting the dispatch of the rig and oil exploration in contested waters.

Namely, the area in question is administered by Guyana, but claimed by Venezuela.

“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 stymying of the development of Guyana and its people and that would be in contravention of international law,” the statement from the Guyana’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs reads.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Venezuela quickly responded to these allegations and said that the accusations made by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Guyana are “unacceptable and unfair”. Venezuelan Foreign Ministry goes on to note that the statement is surprising especially considering the fact that during the government of President Hugo Chavez and President Nicolas Maduro, they have both expressed the need for further cooperation as an essential part of the mechanism to further facilitate the resolution of the dispute.

Furthermore, the government of Venezuela called for negotiations to achieve a practical and satisfactory solution for both sides.

Drilling offshore Guyana

Meanwhile, the drillship is in place and set for its exploration activities. The total area allotted to Exxon for exploration (the Liza Area or the Stabroek Block) covers 26, 806 square kilometers. The company intends to drill at a depth of 1750 metres.

According to GINA, President of Guyana Donald Ramotar along with Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment, Robert Persaud visited the ExxonMobil’s Head office located on New Market Street, Georgetown yesterday, where they were given a tour of the facility and briefed on the scope of its operations by the company’s Country Manager, Jeff Simons.

The project is expected to be executed over a 10-year period with three periods including two phases in each period. Each period will last for one to two years.

Gina further informs that the scope of operations includes a drillship, with approximately 200 crew and contractors; helicopter support, with two from Ogle including a utility and a Search and Rescue at all times; four support vessels and two shore bases running from Georgetown and Trinidad, and a waste treatment facility at the John Fernandes Site at Houston.

Offshore Energy Today Staff

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