Kaieteur News – ExxonMobil’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Darren Woods appears unfazed by Venezuela’s desperate acts to annex Essequibo which accounts for two-thirds of Guyana’s mineral rich territory.
Following a poorly received referendum on December 3, Venezuela’s President, Nicholas Maduro, tried to save face with the announcement of several outrageous measures that would be taken to seize Essequibo. This includes creating a new law for the governance of the region, as well as giving companies like Exxon operating in waters adjacent to Essequibo, three months to leave.
During a recent interview on CNBC TV, Woods was asked if he is concerned about Venezuela’s threats, given that Guyana is an important part of its production portfolio.
Woods said, “I would put it in the context of what has been happening for many, many years, and frankly, before we even started first production in Guyana, which is, there has been a border dispute that is going through the International Court of Justice.”
He added, “And so there is a judicial process that is happening. It is a matter between nation states and it is a matter that has been ongoing. My expectation is that the process will be respected.”
With respect to concerns about threats of a possible invasion, Woods was keen to note that while Guyana has a population of less than one million people, it is not standing alone.
“I am not sure Guyana is standing on its own, to tell you the truth. We have all seen what happens when a nation’s sovereignty is challenged…the world and the outside community has grown pretty sensitive to that and the expectation is that there is broader support in the international community to make sure the right process is followed to resolve this dispute,” the CEO said.
He added, “From our perspective, we know what we need to do in country which is to develop those resources economically and environmentally and responsibly and do what we were contracted to do, and that is what our organization is focused on.”
ExxonMobil currently operates the Stabroek Block alongside partners, Hess Corporation and CNOOC Petroleum Guyana Limited. In the block measuring 6.6 million acres, the consortium has already unlocked over 11 billion barrels of oil equivalent resources.
There are also three oil ships in operation which will reach a total output of more than 600,000 barrels of oil per day by the first quarter of 2024. Overall, Exxon is expected to have six floating, production, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessels producing over one million barrels of oil by 2027. As a result of production from the Stabroek Block, Guyana achieved the world’s highest Gross Domestic Product (GDP) last year at 62 percent.
Guyana’s Vice President, Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo emphatically stated on Thursday that nothing will stop Guyana’s development trajectory. He said this includes any law passed by a “Kangaroo Congress” in Venezuela regarding the Essequibo region. He said such a law would not be accepted or respected.
Dr. Jagdeo also urged companies to ignore Venezuela’s ultimatum to leave within three months, noting that local authorities will defend every square inch of Guyana.
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