Guyana confirms surveys in block challenged by Venezuela
Taking a stance on concessions in Venezuelan waters is suggested
Guyana's government and multinationals have confirmed the exploratory works in the Stabroeck block, challenged by Venezuela in 2000.
Guyana's Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment posted on its website the 2012 plans in mining, forestry and oil. In the last section, they confirm the procurement of 2D seismic data Stabroek block of Esso (part of the Exxon Mobil corporation) / Shell.
A portion of the block is located on the maritime projection of Orinoco Delta; another portion is in front of the projection in the disputed area.
In the 2011 Exxon financial report, the US transnational recounted: "We have a 50% share to operate the deepwater block Stabroek (9.6 million acres) in Guyana's coast. The interpretation of a new 2D seismic survey to assess the prospects is ongoing. Additionally, the procurement of the 3D seismic survey is also foreseen."
In 2009, Shell bought Exxon 25% of its interest in Stabroek. However, according to the website of both companies, they resolved to get into a partnership on an equal footing.
A press release from Guyana's government news agency Gina confirms that the seismic survey conducted in Starbroek is ready. "The company is carrying out the drilling project in an offshore, deepwater block, through a joint venture with Shell. Since then, it has conducted a comprehensive seismic survey that will soon reviewed as a guide for the future," it was reported apropos a meeting between an Exxon representative and Guyana's President Donald Ramotar.
Aníbal Martínez, a geologist and member of the Venezuelan Petroleum Advocacy Front, explained that such seismic surveys form part of pre-drilling works.
The seismic survey requires large vessels in the area. However, sources linked to the Venezuelan army have affirmed that they have no evidence of such works.
Waiting for a response
Ex Venezuelan negotiator in the dispute concerning the Essequibo, Emilio Figueredo, thinks that Venezuela's President Hugo Chávez "should reassert his refusal of year 2000 about the concessions and do not accept any activity in the area owned by and under the jurisdiction of Venezuela."
Venezuelan Minister of Foreign Affairs Nicolás Maduro coincided on Monday in Cochabamba, Bolivia, with his Guyanese counterpart Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett, during the meeting of the General Assembly, Organization of American States (OAS). It is not know whether they tackled the subject matter.
A simple reason: there is oil galore, would suffice to explain Guyana's actions. Another explanation lies in the little or none efforts made by the Venezuelan government to thwart the move by the Guyanese. This is certainly not a new problem, but a problem only recently highlighted because oil is involved. But what other resources does the disputed area hold? For most of us it is a section on the map with black and white stripes on it, a depiction of something distant, alien, a nothingness not worth paying much attention to in geography classes back in elementary school.