Venezuela’s National Assembly approves agreement rejecting oil operations in Guyana

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The Energy and Petroleum Commission of Venezuela’s National Assembly approved an agreement rejecting the oil operations being undertaken by the Government of Guyana. This comes with less than a year left for the countries to meet a resolution as mandated by the United Nations.

United Nations Secretary General, Antonio Guterres on February 27, 2017, appointed a Norwegian diplomat, Dag Halvor Nylander, who dealt with the Colombian peace process to try to settle the longstanding border dispute between Venezuela and Guyana by the end of this year.

According to a report in El Nacional — a Venezuelan newspaper, the Spanish-speaking country is again claiming that operations in the Essequibo, an area which it is claiming, “violates the Geneva agreement of 1966 and Article 10 of The Bolivarian Constitution of Venezuela, which clearly establishes the Venezuelan territory.”

The draft agreement was tabled by the vice-president of that parliamentary body, Deputy for Zulia, Elías Matta, who said as stipulated in Article 5 of the Geneva Agreement, “no resource can be exploited if there is no agreement between both nations.”

He stressed that the agreement establishes a strong protest by the National Assembly to the Parliament of the Republic of Guyana to learn about the unilateral decision of his government to authorise such oil operations.

The agreement is expected to be sent to the diplomatic bodies located in the country to inform their governments about this violation, the Venezuelan Newspaper said.

Additionally, Matta urged the Venezuelan Government to send this agreement to the UN representative “to order to immediately suspend all operations carried out within the maritime area corresponding to the territory in claim until the dispute is resolved.”

Guyana government carried out the expansion of oil prospecting operations in May 2015, in which Exxon-Mobil reported a discovery at the Liza-1 well on the Stabroek Block. Shortly after, the Venezuelan Government renewed its claims of 2/3 of Guyana’s territory, extending offshore.

The Venezuelan National Assembly took note of the plans to commercialise its resources.

“The Stabroek Block occupies an area of 26,800 square kilometres, which extends from territorial waters of Guyana to territorial waters of Venezuela. The maps and existing data consulted about the Payara-1 well indicate that it is located within the territorial waters of the Zone in Venezuelan Essequibo, “Deputy Matta argued.

He said it is “known that there is high-quality oil there,” and therefore considers it urgent to approve this agreement that urges the national government to implement the relevant diplomatic measures before the Republic of Guyana in defence Of Territorial Sovereignty, El Nacional said. The agreement also requests, the exact location of the drilled wells and respective discoveries to determine, which of these are in waters claimed by that country.

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