Despite Rift with Venezuela, Guyana Charges Ahead on Oil

A ship carrying five American oil workers, left, reaches the shore of Margarita Island, Venezuela, after being intercepted in disputed waters off of Guyana, Oct. 13, 2013 (AP photo via Cristian Zerpa, El Sol de Margarita).
A ship carrying five American oil workers, left, reaches the shore of Margarita Island, Venezuela, after being intercepted in disputed waters off of Guyana, Oct. 13, 2013 (AP photo via Cristian Zerpa, El Sol de Margarita).

On June 15, Guyana announced it had issued an oil and gas license as well as an environmental permit to ExxonMobil. Raphael Trotman, the resources minister, said oil extraction was expected to begin in 2020, a key step for Guyana as it tries to revive its struggling economy. However, a border dispute with Venezuela remains unresolved, and Guyana’s decision to move ahead with oil production risks souring bilateral relations. In an email interview, Robert Looney, a distinguished professor at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, and a specialist in energy issues, explains the dispute and describes how oil fits […]

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