Jan 25, 2019 News
Officials from Guyana and the United States of America recently met to explore areas for deeper cooperation on energy and security. This was outlined in a missive to the media yesterday.
According to the document, Foreign Affairs Minister, Carl Greenidge met with John J. Sullivan, Deputy Secretary of State of the United States of America, in Washington D.C on Wed
nesday. The two officials committed to further strengthening the US- Guyana bilateral relationship and to exploring areas for deeper cooperation, with particular regard to the energy, security and development sectors.
The Foreign Affairs Minister and the Deputy Secretary also discussed preparations for upcoming national elections in Guyana.
Further to this, the Deputy Secretary of State reaffirmed US support for Guyana’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, including sovereign rights in its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), in light of Venezuela’s recent interception of an ExxonMobil contracted vessel conducting seismic surveys in Guyana’s maritime space.
Since the Venezuelan incursion, ExxonMobil has modified its deal with Petroleum Geo-Services (PGS), the Norwegian firm it hired to provide two vessels to conduct seismic work offshore Guyana. Exxon opted to keep one of the two Ramform Titan-class vessels following the incursion by a Venezuelan military ship on December 22, last.
According to international media reports, (https://www.offshoreenergytoday.com/exxonmobil-drops-one-pgs-vessel-from-guyana-survey-after-incident-with-venezuelan-navy/), the deal for the two Ramform Titan-class vessels to conduct the 3D survey in South America was announced on November 14, 2018. The vessels Ramform Atlas and Ramform Tethys mobilized in early December 2018 for this survey. The contract had an estimated total duration of approximately 13 vessel months and an estimated value in excess of US$75 million.
However, PGS said recently that due to unresolved issues affecting the survey, both vessels have been on paid standby from December 23, 2018. PGS confirmed that while the Venezuelan incursion forced Exxon to pause the seismic exploration activities, drilling and development operations offshore Guyana were unaffected.
PGS said it was also informed by ExxonMobil that the Ramform Atlas was no longer required. The Norwegian firm said it will receive payment for mobilization, work performed, standby and demobilization. PGS said, too, that it expects to deploy the vessel on a MultiClient programme or contract survey shortly, but will incur idle time relating to steaming and possibly standby before starting an alternative project.
PGS said it also understands that ExxonMobil plans to deploy the Ramform Tethys to acquire a 4D survey offshore Guyana. PGS said that the vessel will continue on paid standby until it starts the redefined programme. PGS expects the vessel to be operating in the area for at least three months.
Speaking with Kaieteur News recently, Exxon’s Head of Government and Public Affairs, Deedra Moe, confirmed that there are plans to deploy the PGS-operated vessel to the Turbot area to acquire 4Dseismic data similar to the 4D campaign conducted in the Liza area in 2017. “We are evaluating future seismic plans,” Moe added. She noted, too, that safety and security remain top priorities for Exxon.
US STATE DEPT. REJECTS AGGRESSION
The U.S Department of State has made it clear that it has taken note of the fact that a Venezuelan Navy ship “aggressively” stopped ExxonMobil-contracted vessels from operating under an oil exploration agreement with Guyana in its Exclusive Economic Zone.
On this premise, Department’s Deputy Spokesperson, Robert Palladino said, “We underscore that Guyana has the sovereign right to explore and exploit resources in its Exclusive Economic Zone.” He also called for Venezuela to respect international law and the rights of its neighbours.
The APNU+AFC Government has also rejected, and labeled as an illegal and hostile act, the Venezuelan navy’s interception of research vessels that were contracted by ExxonMobil.
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