Venezuela voices outrage over new oil lease off Guyana

FILE PHOTO: A government supporter holds a sign that reads: “The Essequibo is ours, vote YES 5 times” while participating in an event to collect signatures in support of a referendum over Venezuela's rights to the potentially oil-rich region of Esequiba in Guyana, in Caracas, Venezuela November 15, 2023. REUTERS/Leonardo Fernandez Viloria/File Photo

Caracas: Venezuela has said it “strongly” rejects a new oil concession Guyana has granted to US giant ExxonMobil in waters disputed by the two South American neighbours.

ExxonMobil announced last Friday that it received the green light from Guyana for exploitation in the Stabroek block, an offshore area with huge deposits.

The project, known as Whiptail and with an estimated investment of US$12.7bil, “will bring the country’s production capacity to approximately 1.3 million barrels per day,” ExxonMobil president Liam Mallon said in the statement.

ExxonMobil said production at Whiptail would likely not come online until in 2027.

Venezuela “strongly rejects the illegal oil production licence granted by Guyana to oil companies in the Stabroek Block,” Venezuelan foreign minister Yvan Gil said.

“Any concession that Guyana grants or intends to grant in the areas in question is unacceptable, since it violates international law and Venezuela’s sovereignty,” he added. The discovery of oil in the disputed waters in 2015 intensified the boundary dispute between Venezuela and Guyana. — AFP

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