LatinNews Daily - 08 February 2024

In brief: Venezuela rejects possible drilling in region disputed with Guyana

*Venezuela’s defence minister, Vladimir Padrino López, has warned of a “proportional, forceful response in line with the law” if US oil giant ExxonMobil begins drilling in the Essequibo region, territory which it disputes with Guyana. This follows reports in the international media that ExxonMobil expects to drill two exploratory wells near its prolific Stabroek block, where three oil fields are producing close to 650,000 barrels of oil a day. The president of ExxonMobil Guyana, Alistair Routledge, was cited as saying the concessions were granted by Guyana and the company is committed to its operations despite continued tensions with Venezuela. These escalated following the 3 December referendum in Venezuela in which voters expressed support for annexing the Essequibo region. In a press conference on 6 February, Routledge revealed that the operators of the Stabroek Block (which also include US firm HESS, and China’s China National Offshore Oil Corporation [CNOOC]), had invested just over US$29bn into oil developments in Guyana. He added that US$19bn had been recovered since the start of operations in 2019. Meanwhile, Guyana’s foreign minister, Robert Persaud, told the Associated Press yesterday that ExxonMobil has every right to work in that region “because it is within established Guyana waters in a fully demarcated area.

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