Venezuela threatens “forceful” response to ExxonMobil’s Guyanese drilling plans

Fabiola Zerpa, Bloomberg February 08, 2024

(Bloomberg) – Venezuela said it would respond in a “forceful” way to Exxon Mobil Corp.’s plans to drill in the disputed Essequibo region off the coast of Guyana.

Venezuelan Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino said that Exxon’s plan to drill exploration wells in the region will be met with a “proportional, forceful and rightful response,” according to a post on social-media platform X.

Padrino said the area is a “maritime space that rightfully belongs to Venezuela.”

The oil giant said it will drill new wells west of the Liza discovery and close to Venezuelan territorial waters, Exxon Guyana President Alistair Routledge told Demerara Waves. The dispute is “not inhibiting that activity in our plans,” he said.

“If ExxonMobil has a private security company represented by the Southern Command and a small branch in the government of Guyana, good for them, but in the maritime space that rightfully belongs to Venezuela, they will receive a proportional, forceful and rightful response,” Padrino wrote.

Guyana and Venezuela have disputed the status of the region for more than a century. Tensions flared in late 2023 but the leaders of both countries agreed late last month to avoid escalation in a Brazil-mediated meeting.

Lead image: ExxonMobil's Liza 2 FPSO

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