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Exxon discovers oil off Guyana coast

Staff writer ▼ | May 18, 2015
Exxon Mobil has discovered oil off the coast of Guyana, the company and the South American nation's government said, but there may be a big problem because of a long territorial dispute with Venezuela.
Exxon Guyana
Business and politics   Oil discovery in the Stabroek Block
The discovery is located in the Stabroek Block off a border region that is claimed by Venezuela in a territorial controversy dating back more than a century, even though the area functions in practice as Guyanese territory.

The government said it is "optimistic of a hydrocarbon discovery of commercial quantities which will further transform Guyana's economy." Exxon's country manager for Guyana said the company was still evaluating the commercial viability of the discovery.

A Venezuelan foreign ministry official said the ministry was aware of the situation.

The exploration project is led by Exxon, with Hess Corp and a subsidiary of China National Offshore Oil Company also participating. Exxon signed an agreement with Guyana to explore the 26,800 square kilometer block, 160 to 320 kilometers offshore, in 1999.

Guyana in 2013 said Venezuela's navy evicted a ship used by Texas-based Anadarko Petroleum Corp to explore for oil in the offshore Roraima block. Guyana called the incident a security threat and Venezuela described it as a violation of its territory.