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GUYANA Protests Vezezuela Military Interception of Oil Exploration Vessell

Featured Seismic vessel, Ramform Tethys, that was intercepted by Venezuela’s Navy in Guyana’ waters offshore Essequibo Seismic vessel, Ramform Tethys, that was intercepted by Venezuela’s Navy in Guyana’ waters offshore Essequibo
GEORGETOWN, Guyana, December 23, 2018 -The Government of Guyana has lodged a protest with the Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela,  over its "latest act of illegality and blatant disrespect for Guyana’s sovereignty" following its military's interception of a Norweigan research vessel, the Ramform Tethys, that was conducting seismic oil exploration activities offshore the coast of Guyana on behalf of Esso Exploration & Production, Guyana Limited (Exxon Mobil).

As a result of this, the Norwegian company, Petroleum Geo-Services, (PGS) has stopped 3-D seismic oil exploration activities offshore Guyana closer to the Venezuelan border.

“At this time, seismic operations on the Stabroek Block offshore Guyana have been paused until they can be safely continued. Our main concern is for the safety of crew members and others in the area,” ExxonMobil said. The company said it began gathering 3-D seismic data from the western end of the Stabroek Block," an Exxon Mobil release said.

exxon stabroek 460
ExxonMobil’s Stabroek Block concession offshore Guyana.

PGS was contracted by ExxonMobil  to conduct the operations at the western end of the Stabroek Block. Official sources said a Venezuelan military helicopter attempted to land on the Ramform Tethys seismic vessel that was at the time located about 50 miles from the border.

A Demerara Waves news report quotes Senior Vice President IR & Corporate Communications at PGS, Bard Stenberg as saying: “Our vessel, the Ramform Tethys, was approached by Venezuelan navy earlier today when it was working on a project offshore Guyana. We are operating in Guyana under the authority of the Guyana government and has all necessary permits to perform this survey. The vessel has now stopped seismic acquisition and is heading East. We are working to get more clarity of the situation. The safety and well-being of the crew onboard the vessel is our first priority."

The Government of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana wishes to advise that Esso Exploration & Production, Guyana Limited (Exxon Mobil) reported that a research vessel, the Ramform Tethys, was intercepted by the Venezuelan navy at 10.30 hours on Saturday December 22, 2018.

The vessel, flagged by the Government of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, was contracted to conduct seismic work by Exxon Mobil and had a total of seventy crew members on board including the Captain.

It was intercepted in the exclusive economic zone and continental shelf of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana at a position of N 09 deg 17.19 min / W 058 deg 16.20 min at an approximate distance of 140 Km from the nearest point to the provisional equidistant line with Venezuela.

A statement by the Government of Guyana issued late yesterday said :

The Government of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana wishes to advise that Esso Exploration & Production, Guyana Limited (Exxon Mobil) reported that a research vessel, the Ramform Tethys, was intercepted by the Venezuelan navy at 10.30 hours on Saturday December 22, 2018.

The Government of Guyana rejects this illegal, aggressive and hostile act perpetrated by the Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela which once again demonstrates the real threat to Guyana’s economic development by its western neighbor; an act that violates the sovereignty and territorial integrity of our country.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will be bringing this latest act of illegality and blatant disrespect for Guyana’s sovereignty by Venezuela to the attention of the United Nations.

It is also in the process of informing the several Governments of the seventy crew members of the threat to their safety.

The Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela will also receive formal communication from the Government of Guyana on this matter.

The location where the seismic research vessell was intercepted, is  offshore the county of Berbice, in the Essequibo Region over which Venezuela claims patrimony.

Guyana has taken the matter to the United Nations, and the Secretary General has referred the long standing dispute over the validity of the 1899 Arbitral Tribunal Award which shaould have settled the matter, to the International Court of Justice for a final judicial proclamation.

Venezuela has refused to recognise or participate in those proceedings, saying the court lacks jurisdiction and that the two countries should instead settle the controversy bilaterally.

 

  • Countries: Guyana

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