President of Guyana, Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali, is staunchly reaffirming Guyana’s right to pursue economic activities within its territory, after a recent statement by the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela condemning Guyana’s offshore licensing round.
In the official release, Venezuela stated: “The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela strongly rejects the illegal bidding round for oil blocks currently being carried out by the Government of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana, as it aims to allocate maritime areas pending delimitation between both countries.”
The Venezuelan government claimed that any actions within these areas are a violation of International Law unless carried out through an agreement with Venezuela. The statement went on to express its concern over Guyana’s purported infringement of Venezuela’s sovereign rights, warning that such actions do not grant any kind of rights to third parties involved in the process.
In response, President Ali asserted Guyana’s sovereign rights to its territory, stating: “The Government of Guyana reserves the right to pursue economic development activities in any portion of its sovereign territory or any appurtenant maritime territories. Any unilateral attempt by Venezuela to restrict the exercise by Guyana of its sovereignty and sovereign rights will be wholly inconsistent with the Geneva Agreement and the rule of international law.”
Seeking to bring the longstanding territorial quarrel between the two nations to a close, proceedings filed by Guyana are ongoing at the International Court of Justice (ICJ).
The current bid round ended with 14 offers from six bidders, including industry giants like ExxonMobil and TotalEnergies. Six out of the 14 blocks, namely D3, S1, S2, S6, S9, and S11, received no bids. Guyana’s commitment to furthering its offshore oil sector remains unshaken, with contracts set to be awarded by November 1, 2023.