Rig sparks diplomatic spat between Guyana and Venezuela

Caracas: Guyana officials warned Venezuela on Wednesday not to interfere with plans for an ExxonMobil drilling rig in disputed waters.

The Deep Water Champion platform has left the US for Guyana, where it is expected to begin work in the middle of this month in the Stabroek block.

Venezuela claims jurisdiction over the maritime zone to its east and sent a letter last month to Exxon’s Guyana office opposing the rig’s move. It’s part of a bigger, longstanding dispute over the Essequibo territory, which Guyana has administered since independence from Britain in 1966.

ExxonMobil says it will operate the offshore rig “under licence” from the Guyana government. The company plans to invest $200m in exploratory drilling.

In its warning statement, the Guyanese government requested that Venezuela “desist from taking any actions that could only result in the stymieing of the development of Guyana and its people and that would be in contravention of international law.”

Donal Scully

With 28 years experience writing and editing for newspapers in the UK and Hong Kong, Donal is now based in California from where he covers the Americas for Splash as well as ensuring the site is loaded through the Western Hemisphere timezone.
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