[www.inewsguyana.com] – Venezuela has renewed its claim to Guyana’s territory, this time including an area where US oil giant ExxonMobil recently discovered oil.
Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro on May 27, 2015 issued an official decree creating the “Atlantic coast of Venezuela” which now includes “sovereignty” over Guyana’s territorial waters in the Atlantic Ocean off the Essequibo region.
This new extension of Venezuela’s claim to Guyanese territorial waters was made official in the presidential decree, No. 1787, and published in the Ordinary Official Gazette No. 40,669, dated May 27, 2015.
According to Guyana’s Former Ambassador to Venezuela, Odeen Ishmael, “a map, issued to coincide with this decree, indicates that Venezuela is now claiming all the territorial waters within the 200 miles range and blocking Guyana’s access to its resources in this area of the Atlantic Ocean.”
The Maduro decree is set amid Venezuela’s objection over oil exploration and concessions granted by Guyana to Exxon-Mobil, to explore 23,000 square kilometers of the Stabroek Block located within the area into which the new territorial claim is now extended.
Earlier this year, when ExxonMobil was about to drill an exploratory well in the area, Venezuela claimed the drilling area as part of its territorial sea.
ExxonMobil has already announced that it has found a deposit of a significant amount of oil in the controversial Stabroek Bloc, 120 miles offshore Guyana.
According to a statement from ExxonMobil, the oil was discovered in one of the two wells it dug. The Liza-1 well encountered more than 295 feet of high-quality oil-bearing sandstone. The well was “spud” on March 5, 2015 and the well data will be analyzed in the coming months to better determine the full resource potential.