US transnational oil corporation ExxonMobil began extracting oil in Payara, an oil field located in waters that have yet to be delimited between Venezuela and Guyana. Payara is the third-largest producing oil field in Guyana, with a maximum capacity that amounts to approximately 620,000 barrels per day.
For this activity, Exxon is using Singapore-made Prosperity FPSO (floating production storage and offloading) unit. During the first half of next year, Payara will be producing approximately 220 barrels of oil per day.
To date, about 30 world-class oil fields, containing some 11 billion barrels of oil, have been discovered in the disputed wasters. These resources could put Guyana on the map as one of the world’s leading oil producers and a major driver of production growth for ExxonMobil.
ExxonMobil currently has a controlling position in the Stabroek block off the coast of Guyana, where it has control over 45% while its partners, the US Hess Corporation and China’s CNOOC, own 30% and 25%, respectively.
In addition, ExxonMobil has six drilling vessels that will remain in production until 2029. In 2025, the fleet may increase, temporarily at least, by as many as eight vessels.
According to a report, the Texas-based oil transnational could deploy up to eight drilling ships simultaneously in the second half of 2025, temporarily scaling up its operations in the Stabroek block.
The decision to extract oil in waters not yet delimited came after Guyana presented its arguments before the International Court of Justice (ICJ), where it requested the annulment of a Venezuela-wide consultative referendum on the Essequibo dispute in Venezuela scheduled for December 3.
In the midst of these claims, the president of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, warned that Guyana wants to become a branch of ExxonMobil. President Maduro stated that the only way to resolve this dispute is through the Geneva Agreement signed between Venezuela and Guyana in 1966. Therefore, he invited all parties involved in the dispute to a dialogue sponsored by the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).
Last October, Venezuelan Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino refused to issue permits granted by Guyana to drill oil wells in waters disputed with Venezuela. At the same time, he warned that if the drilling was carried out, Guyana would receive a forceful response.
#Comunicado Venezuela manifiesta su categórico rechazo ante el anuncio del Gobierno de Guyana, sobre el inicio de la producción de petróleo por parte de la Plataforma FPSO Prosperity, en el yacimiento Payara, ubicado en un área marítima pendiente por delimitar. pic.twitter.com/1VbJw2MvK4
— Yvan Gil (@yvangil) November 15, 2023
For this reason, the Venezuelan government issued a statement categorically repudiating this announcement by the Guyana government.
The unofficial translation of the statement can be read below:
The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela expresses its categorical rejection of the announcement by the Government of Guyana regarding the start of oil production by the Floating Production, Storage and Offloading Platform, FPSO Prosperity, in the Payara field, at the Stabroek block, located in a maritime area yet to be delimited, which is contrary to Public International Law and constitutes a new provocation by a government at the service of ExxonMobil.
Venezuela has presented evidence of this illegal action in documentary form and repeatedly communicated to the Guyanese government and the Caribbean community [CARICOM], that such actions are becoming the greatest source of destabilization in the region, undermining the legitimate interests of the Venezuelan people.
The Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela reiterates to the Government of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana and the transnational companies that operate or provide associated services in the area that it does not recognize any effect or right as a result of the concessions that it grants or has granted in said water pending delimitation.
Caracas, November 15, 2023
(RedRadioVE) by Ana Perdigón with Orinoco Tribune content
Translation: Orinoco Tribune
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