Exxon might abandon oil concession
- El Nacional

Stabroek News
August 13, 2000

Guyana seems in danger of losing the investor interest in oil exploration as a result of Venezuela's policy of scaring away investment in the Essequibo region.

A report in El Nacional, the Venezuelan daily newspaper said that following talks with Petroleos de Venezuela (Pdvsa) at least two of the transnational companies will abandon the concessions granted to them by Guyana to explore for oil in the areas of the Atlantic off Essequibo "not demarcated."

The report quoted Venezuelan Foreign Minister, Jose Vincente Rangel, as saying that "Century has already made known its decision of not making any definite plans for its concession. The same thing has been suggested with Exxon...

There is a willingness to give up the concession which has not yet been realized, but which is in train."

Rangel's statement, the report said, was made to a breakfast briefing he hosted for the national and international press during which he confirmed that the Venezuelan government still intended to go ahead with its proposal to offer exploration licences for areas under its maritime jurisdiction in the waters off Delta Amacuro state.

In preparation for the exercise, Rangel disclosed that he would be leading a team, which would include naval personnel, to Post Movil Rio Urbiante, situated in San Jose de Amacuro, near the mouth of the Orinoco. There, he said, navy personnel would explain to him the strategic importance of the area which had been "for a long time... extremely, dangerously and inexplicably neglected."

Rangel insisted too the government intended to maintain the country's territorial integrity and that Pdvsa would be the agency that would be required to arrange the conditions and mechanisms for the issue of the exploration licences in the area situated in "Venezuelan maritime jurisdiction where... Guyana dared to grant some concessions".

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