Guyana forging ahead with oil development; undeterred by Venezuela threat

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While Venezuela’s President, Nicholas Maduro, has revealed his “evil intentions” for Essequibo which accounts for two-thirds of Guyana’s landmass, it will not stop the nation’s flourishing oil developments. Guyana’s Vice President, Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo delivered this emphatic assurance while assuring that the government will do everything within and beyond its capability to zealously protect the mineral-rich region.

During a press briefing on Thursday, the official recalled some of the steps Maduro said he would take towards annexation following his December 3 referendum. Those steps include the creation of two new divisions: PDVSA Esequibo and CVG Esequibo which would be dedicated to the exploration and exploitation of gas, oil and mining.

The Venezuelan leader also gave companies in and offshore Guyana’s Essequibo region, three months to leave. It’s an ultimatum Jagdeo said must be ignored by all.

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The Vice President also stated that such announcements, including Venezuela’s plans to establish a new law to govern Essequibo, have no standing in international law and will not stymie the nation’s developments. He said this includes Guyana’s oil production pursuits in the ExxonMobil-operated Stabroek Block as well as the government’s conclusion of negotiations for eight oil blocks that featured in the nation’s maiden licensing round.

Dr. Jagdeo said, “If we pause any of our developments, Maduro succeeds. He has no right in international law to tell the people of Guyana, a sovereign country, how to pursue its affairs.”

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“And that is why we are forging ahead with our development in all 83,000 square miles…if we get paralyzed by this at the government level then we will fall prey to what he is trying to achieve.”

The Vice President assured that government is in an enhanced operational mode which sees a group of the highest level of officials looking at Venezuela’s posture 24/7.

Simultaneously, he said the government will continue to do what it was elected to do, and that is, enhance more benefits to people. The Vice President noted that the latest report by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is proof that the government has steered the country onto a pathway of extraordinary growth.

According to the report, Guyana’s oil production allowed for the growth of real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to be achieved in 2022 at 62.3 percent, making it the highest in the world. “Overall, real GDP growth is projected to grow 38.4 percent in 2023 and on average of 20 percent per year during 2024-28,” the December report states.

The Guyanese leader said local authorities will not be sidetracked from maintaining this trajectory. “If we do otherwise, then Maduro succeeds,” the Vice President reiterated, adding, “Venezuela is not going to succeed now or ever in this matter…”

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