“Our business is risk management” – says ExxonMobil Guyana President

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President of ExxonMobil Guyana, Alistair Routledge says managing risk is a key component of the oil and gas business and is part of the normal operations of companies in the industry. Exxon has prided itself in being able to successfully manage these risks, including those that are geopolitical in nature, as is the case currently with the Guyana-Venezuela border controversy.      

“Our business is risk management. I mean, around the world, we deal with reservoir risks, we deal with operational risks, geologic risks, we deal with geopolitical risks. We deal with all of that. So, you know, that is normal business for us,” he said in a recent podcast interview.

Routledge made it clear that it is not the role of companies to be in the middle of geopolitical affairs. “That is the role of governments to work together and follow the international rule of law and to find solutions to these kinds of questions.”

He drew parallels between the company’s approach to geopolitical risks and its successful navigation through the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our role is to ensure that we are prepared for any eventuality and that we are able to manage through that, just as we did with the pandemic,” he highlighted.

He stressed the company’s capability to handle unexpected challenges, adapting processes and controls to ensure the safety of employees and the environment. “We bring thoughtfulness and preparedness to handle any unexpected challenges and to adapt to bring the right kind of processes, controls, and ultimately look after people and the environment,” Routledge emphasized.

Exxon focusing on developing oil resources in Guyana; no financial backing in play for border controversy | OilNOW 

His comments come at a critical juncture as tensions between Guyana and Venezuela have escalated over the long-standing border controversy. Venezuela has laid claim to a significant portion of Guyana’s territory, including swathes of oil-rich waters off the country’s coast, where Exxon operates.    

Venezuela’s President, Nicolas Maduro has said all companies operating in the Essequibo region have three months to vacate following a referendum which independent observers say was poorly supported. His declarations are also in direct contravention of a ruling by the International Court of Justice advising against these kinds of actions. The Court said that Guyana controls the Essequibo region, and that Venezuela should do nothing to modify the status quo, pending a ruling on the validity of an 1899 arbitral award which granted the territory to Guyana.

President of Guyana, Dr. Irfaan Ali has assured all companies operating in the territory that their investments are secure.

Venezuela and Guyana have since signed a joint declaration to not threaten or use force against each other.

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