Exxon says planned wells “clearly Guyana’s territory”

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ExxonMobil Guyana President Alistair Routledge told Bloomberg that planned drilling offshore Guyana in 2024 will be “well south” of the territory under contention between Guyana and Venezuela.

Venezuela’s maritime claim rests along a “projected” 70-degree line out to sea from Punta Playa on the border with Guyana, Routledge reportedly said. 

“Where we’re proposing to drill this year is well south of that 70-degree line,” he said. “There’s been no history of dispute or any recent history of Venezuela intervening with activity in that area.”

The seven wells Exxon plans to drill are at least 100 kilometers (62 miles) away from Venezuela’s claimed territory, Routledge said. Five are in the south-east portion of the Stabroek Block, closer to Suriname, while two are in the central section, he said. He added that wells have been drilled closer to Venezuela in recent years with no problems.

“We’re getting on with development and activity within acreage that is clearly Guyana’s territory,” he said. “It’s licensed to us to explore and develop. Where there’s controversy over the borders, that’s for the governments to resolve.”

This clarification was given, following reports that Venezuela is once again building up a military presence close to the border. 

Venezuela’s Defense Minister, Vladimir Padrino, this week pledged a “forceful” response after Routledge announced the planned wells during a recent press conference.

Routledge said “We recognize the government has signed an agreement with the Venezuelans not to antagonize the situation, and they want to resolve the issue in the [International Court of Justice] which is the right venue.”

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