Home of the world’s biggest crude oil reserves, production of crude oil in Venezuela, a OPEC member, has reached its lowest levels in 70 years.
Guyana’s Foreign Affairs Minister Carl Greenidge stated, the government is “in discussion” with Exxon Mobil following a confrontation of two ships searching for oil off the South American country’s coast with the Venezuela’s navy.
Both South American countries have claimed that the incident occured within their territorial waters.
Their dispute came into prominence after oil giant Exxon discovered more than 5 billion barrels of oil and gas off Guyana’s coast.
In a statement Greenidge said, he cannot say “for the moment” whether the two ships, owned by Norway’s Petroleum Geo-Services that were hired by Exxon, would resume their seismic survey, or whether they would return to the area where the incident occurred.
When asked whether Guyanese authorities would provide the necessary protection to the vessels if they were to continue their exploration, he stated, Guyana is “committed to resolving territorial disputes by peaceful means.”
He went on to add, “We will therefore first try to explore and exhaust diplomatic channels. Guyana is a small state of less than a million persons compared with Venezuela’s population of 30 million.”
Exxon also chose to not disclose whether the survey would restart and referred all further questions to PGS.
Bard Stenberg, senior vice president at PGS, declined to comment on any resumption of the work or if the company has sought to have Guyana provide protection for its vessels.
According to critics of Venezuela’s socialist President Nicolas Maduro, he is trying to rekindle tensions so as to draw away attention from the severe economic crisis facing the OPEC-member nation.
Although Venezuela has the world’s biggest crude oil reserves, production has dwindled to their lowest levels in 70 years due to hyperinflation, mismanagement and underinvestment, under military control of the company.