US-owned oil giant, ExxonMobil, is set to continue work in its offshore concession early next year following the discovery of significant evidence of hydrocarbon a few months ago.
On Wednesday, Government, through the Minister of Governance with responsibility for the State’s patrimony and natural resources, Raphael Trotman, said that Guyana is in full support of ExxonMobil which committed to continuing exploration works early next year.
This meeting was held with some of the company’s top executives at the Department of Natural Resources and the Environment, Boardroom.
ExxonMobil’s team was led by Erik Oswald, ExxonMobil Exploration Vice President. It included Craig Kelly, Senior Director for the Americas, International Government; Chuck Calavan, Vice President, South and Latin America; Jeff Johnson, Exploration Commercial Manager; Alison Rana, Public and Government Affairs Advisor; Jeff Simons, Country Manager Esso, Guyana; and Carlton James, Public and Government Affairs Manager, Esso, Guyana.
According to Oswald, the company was especially happy with the discovery made in Guyana.
“As you know we have had a discovery of what we thought was a very successful well. This was a very low probability well so it is one of these things we love to see. It’s a very risky investment so we are very pleased about that,” he said.
Regarding to activities next year, Oswald said that the company remains committed and is looking forward to the next investment.
“When the technical work is done, the others will be done. And the idea is, if we have a lot of success, we will bring additional rigs,” Oswald said.
He explained that the “Deepwater Champion”, the rig that struck oil, left Guyana in June upon completion of its contract with the corporation.
Government’s role in ensuring the company’s right to continue its exploration in the Stabroek Block was also discussed during the meeting.
Trotman made it clear to the executives of President David Granger’s assurance that the block will be protected. ”I give you my assurance. The commitment to the project is 110 per cent. We have no intentions of giving up on that partnership.”
He also communicated the government’s willingness to support and assist in any infrastructural needs, which may arise when the company expands its operations here.
Given the ongoing threats to Guyana’s territorial integrity, Minister Trotman also used the opportunity to update the company on the ongoing border controversy and the recent visit to Guyana by a team from United Nations Headquarters.
The minister spoke about the restated intentions of neighbouring Venezuela to claim significant portions of Essequibo, the largest county, and even waters off Guyana, including where oil was discovered a few months ago.
Relations between the two countries have been at an all time low ever since.
“The UN had a team here in Guyana… We are doing our best to get (the issue) resolved. We are pushing for a comprehensive and resolute result. The dispute has not been helpful to this country. We are entitled… to develop our country’s natural resources,” Trotman explained.
ExxonMobil’s drilling began on March 5 offshore in the Stabroek Block.
Just two months later, on May 20, the company announced that its engagement in Guyana was proving successful, as its exploration drill ship, the Deepwater Champion, had found a deposit of a ‘significant’ amount of oil in the Block, about 120 nautical miles from Georgetown.
The discovery of oil would be the first major one for Guyana but oil prices have fallen to around US$40 per barrel, one of the lowest in recent years.
Guyana is not likely to see production in at least five years.
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