U.S. oil giant, ExxonMobil, has teamed up with Guyana to bring the Guyana-Venezuela border issue before the International Court of Justice.
The multinational oil company seeks to sway the court’s decision in favor of Guyana, who they see as more friendly towards their interests.
Officials from Guyana indicated that their aim with the large amount of money provided by the oil company “is to assist with the border process as the UN Secretary General has promised to refer the case to the World Court in about four weeks time.
“Our national sovereignty is riding on this issue and it will be remiss of us if we are not prepared and all resources are not put in place. The actual amount is more than US$15M but less than US$20M. This is not the first time we are going this route as it was done with the CGX Energy and Suriname after the June 2000 incident with the Surinamese coastguard. The PPP [People’s Progressive Party] was then in office. This is nothing new. This is not a signing bonus, but rather we are garnering the resources to prepare for the case. This is a sovereignty issue,” the officials said.
The situation became more complicated in 2015 when ExxonMobil discovered a large amount of oil in disputed regions, which forced a schism between Venezuela and Guyana.
ExxonMobil has conducted several other appraisals along with other large energy sector companies, such as in the Stabroek Block in the Caribbean and the borderland of Essequibo, that have appraised oil deposits in the disputed areas to be worth tens of billions of dollars.
Both Venezuela and Guyana have committed to increasing dialogue in the past, though intervention by foreign oil companies has created a deep divide.
Venezuela has claimed the disputed border area between Guyana and Venezuela, as well as oil rich territories in the Caribbean, since its year of independence, 1821.