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Guyana to drill oil well on the Essequibo shore

Guyana to drill oil well on the Essequibo shore

Posted by Shanelle Weir on July 18, 2014

Oil transnational company Esso hopes the Government of Guyana to issue an environmental permit to star drilling an oil well in the Stabroek bloc, located in the Essequibo waters. The move adversely affects the projection of the Venezuelan Atlantic front.

This was revealed on Monday by the Commissioner of the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC), Rickford Vieira, as he appeared before Guyana's Parliamentary Sectoral Committee on Natural Resources. 

The Stabroek and Pomeroon blocs were granted under a concession in 1999 by Guyanese authorities, leading to a strong reaction from the Venezuelan government back in the day, which forced the concessionaries to refrain from conducting exploration works in the area.

One part of the Stabroek bloc is located on the shores of the disputed area; the other part is in front of Delta Macuro State, east Venezuela.

Venezuelan presence in the Essequibo

Despite the announcement made by Guyanese authorities regarding a possible drilling of an oil well in the Stabroek bloc, the Venezuelan Navy is carrying out surveillance operations in the zone, naval sources revealed. 

In addition, the Minister of Natural Resources and Environment of Guyana, Robert Persaud, acknowledged at the Guyana's Parliament that the presence of the Venezuelan military forces deters oil exploration on the shores. "It has created some level of setback in those particular areas where we have seen the intrusion by the Venezuelan Naval representatives," he asserted.

In October 2013, the Venezuelan Navy captured the Teknik Perdana, a vessel operated by US company Anadarko Petroleum, which was conducting a seismic survey in the Venezuelan Atlantic Front, in Roraima bloc, granted to the transnational by Guyanese authorities.

However, Minister Persaud is optimistic and hopes that Guyana and Venezuela resolve their border dispute, which has hampered prospecting activities in the area.

Since the Teknik Perdana incident, the Guyanese government has been pressuring Venezuela to discuss a sea border treaty, and maintains that the Arbitral Tribunal Award of 1899 is a full and final settlement of the land borders. The land border controversy has been in the hands of the United Nations Secretary General for several decades now.

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