THE Exxon Mobile Deep Water Rig heading to Guyana to drill an exploratory well, but objected to by the Venezuelan Government, will continue its operations in earnest and should be ready by this weekend to commence drilling.This was confirmed by Country Manager Jeff Simon who told the Guyana Chronicle yesterday that despite the utterances by the Venezuelan Foreign Affairs Ministry, the company is contracted by the Guyana Government.
He explained that the oil company will not be engaging in any Government to Government matters and will continue to execute on what it was contracted to deliver.
According to Simon, the rig was scheduled to arrive in Guyana by yesterday afternoon and it will take about a week to ‘rig-up.’
Simon related to the Guyana Chronicle that by this weekend the crew should be ready to commence with its oil exploration activities off Guyana’s Atlantic foreshore.
The oil company’s rig (Deep Water Champion) departed from Louisiana, USA last month for the Stabroek Block offshore Guyana, arriving yesterday.
Caracas has since objected to plans for the exploratory well to be drilled in an area that is within Guyana’s territorial waters.
A diplomatic missive was sent from the Venezuelan Foreign Minister to the Country Manager of Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Limited, objecting to the dispatch of a rig to proceed with the exploration of an oil well in the concession granted by the Guyana.
The Guyana Government has since reacted by dispatching a ‘note verbale’ to the Venezuelan Foreign Ministry warning that it must desist from taking any actions that could only result in stymieing Guyana’s development and contravening international law.
The Foreign Affairs Ministry has since also informed the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), the Organization of American States (OAS), and the Commonwealth as well as the United Nations Secretary-General about this recent action by Venezuela.
Two years ago, a ship conducting a seismic study for Texas-based Anadarko Petroleum Corporation under a concession from Guyana was detained by Venezuela. The ship and its 36-man crew, including five Americans and workers from Russia, Indonesia and Brazil, were well within its territorial waters at the time, Guyana maintains.
The vessel was released after a week.
That episode led to the two countries establishing a bilateral committee to explore mechanisms within the context of international law to address the issue of maritime delimitation.
To this end, they agreed that a technical team would meet to exchange views on how such delimitation could proceed, but this meeting has since been stalled, in part due to developments in that country.