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International court of Justice to rule on Venezuela ship interception offshore Guyana -Hess CEO

 


 

By Starr Spencer / Platts

HOUSTON

Petroleumworld 01 31 2019

The arbitration of the interception of an ExxonMobil-chartered seismic ship offshore Guyana by the Venezuelan navy in December will move to an international court for resolution, John Hess, the CEO of Hess, a member of the ExxonMobil-led consortium, said Wednesday.

The December 22 confrontation ended a few hours after the Venezuelan navy ship moved away from the area a few hours after confronting the seismic vessel. But in early January, Guyana's foreign affairs minister, Carl Greenidge, speaking to the country's National Assembly, called formally upon Venezuela to present its case to be arbitrated before the International Court of Justice in The Hague.

The incident occurred in the northwest portion of the Stabroek Block, more than 68 miles from the nearest of 10 oil discoveries made by the ExxonMobil-led consortium offshore Guyana since May 2015. The incident took plance about 120 miles from the first infrastructure for the project, now under construction by the consortium, which also includes China's CNOOC. The development, Liza Phase 1, targets first oil early next year.

ExxonMobil owns 45% of Stabroek and operates the block, while Hess owns 30% and CNOOC has 25%.

At the time of the incident last month, Guyana's government called the Venezuelan navy's interception of the seismic vessel "illegal, aggressive and hostile," adding it was a "real threat to Guyana's economic development." The two countries have disputed areas offshore the Guyana coast even though the issue was settled by arbitration in 1899.

On Wednesday during Hess' Q4 2018 earnings conference call, John Hess said exploration and development continues in southeast Stabroek, where most of his consortium's discoveries have occurred.

The activities related to Liza Phase 1 development, which is expected to produce up to 120,000 b/d of oil equivalent, are "unaffected," John Hess said.

"The issue is "diplomatic and will have to be handled by the court," Hess added. "The United Nations "fully supports the Guyanese position, the United States fully supports the Guyanese position, as well as CARICOM" -- the Caribbean Community, an organization made up of 15 Caribbean nations.

"But at the end of the day we're fully optimistic and encouraged that the Guyanese position will prevail," Hess added.

ENI's 2018 World Oil Review put Venezuela's oil reserves at nearly 303 billion barrels, ranking it first globally. But the country's production has been falling after widespread political and social chaos in the Latin American country. In December, the country pumped just 1.17 million b/d, according to S&P Global Platts' most recent survey.


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Edited by Starr Spencer ; Edited by Richard Rubin from Platts / SPGlobal.



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