Venezuela Protests Guyana’s Oil Start-Up in Contested Zone

Venezuela Firmly Rejects Guyana’s Oil Production Plans Amid Territorial Dispute

Venezuela has officially voiced its strong opposition to Guyana’s recent declaration concerning the commencement of oil extraction activities in a contested maritime area. The Venezuelan government’s condemnation comes in response to the exploitation of natural resources by the Prosperity FPSO Platform operated by ExxonMobil in the Payara field.

Venezuela’s Stance on Guyana’s Oil Production

The statement issued by Venezuelan Chancellor Yván Gil publicly denounces the actions of the Guyanese Government, accusing them of provocation and of acting under the influence of ExxonMobil. Venezuela maintains that the maritime zone in question has yet to be formally demarcated, and therefore regards any concessions granted by Guyana within this area as invalid.

Yván Gil conveyed the message via social networks, stating, “Venezuela expresses its categorical rejection of the announcement by the Government of Guyana, regarding the start of oil production by the Prosperity FPSO Platform, in the Payara field, located in a maritime area pending to be delimited.”

Risks of Destabilization in the Region

The Venezuelan government emphasizes that the actions of Guyana and the involved corporations pose a serious risk to regional stability. Venezuela has repeatedly submitted documentation to both the Guyanese Government and the Caribbean community, seeking to highlight the potential for destabilization and the infringement upon the rights of Venezuelan citizens.

In a show of firmness, the statement highlights, “Venezuela has evidenced this illegality, in documentary form repeatedly communicated to the Guyanese Government and the Caribbean community, that such actions are becoming the greatest source of destabilization in the region, undermining the legitimate interests of the Venezuelan people.”

Consultative Referendum on the Essequibo Territory

In a move to secure and defend its national interests, Venezuela has scheduled a consultative referendum for December 3, focusing on the Essequibo territory. The intent behind the referendum is to solidify the Venezuelan claim and bring attention to the ongoing dispute.

The controversy centers around the Essequibo region, a vast expanse covering approximately 160,000 square kilometers west of the Essequibo River that is rich in oil reserves. The dispute over sovereignty has persisted for over a century between the two South American nations.

Historical Background and Legal Actions

The tense relationship between Venezuela and Guyana over the Essequibo territory resulted in the signing of an agreement in 1966 aimed at a peaceful settlement of the dispute. However, in a significant escalation, Guyana approached the International Court of Justice in 2018, seeking the legal upholding of the 1899 arbitration award granting it full jurisdiction over the contested territory, a claim Venezuela refuses to recognize.

Political Dynamics and International Interests

The issue has been further complicated by the involvement of international oil corporations, with drilling contracts awarded to ExxonMobil (United States), TotalEnergies (France), SISPRO Inc. (United States), International Group Investment Inc. (Nigeria), Liberty Petroleum Corporation (United States), and China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC). These developments underscore the geopolitical and economic significance of the disputed maritime zone.

Final Thoughts

The oil-rich disputed region remains a flashpoint for tensions between Venezuela and Guyana. As both nations continue to defend their claims, the situation garners attention from regional entities and the international community, all of whom are keenly observing the potential for increased conflict or the emergence of a peaceful resolution.

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