Oil and gas giant, ExxonMobil is staying clear of statements made by Venezuelan ambassador to Dominica, José Durabio Moros, accusing the company of trying to destabilize the Caribbean and South America. He made his statements in light of an escalating border dispute between Guyana and Venezuela last week.
In response to queries by Dominica News Online, the company appears to be taking the diplomatic route by not responding to directly to Moros’ statement.
“Border issues are for governments and appropriate international organizations to address”, was all Michelle Gray, Advisor, Corporate Media Relations Public and Government Affairs at ExxonMobil said via email.
Speaking on state-owned DBS Radio last week, Moros said Venezuela and Guyana enjoyed good relations until oil was discovered in disputed territories and between the two countries by ExxonMobil in 2015/16 and since then everything changed.
“ExxonMobil started to push Guyana to fight Venezuela, to push Guyana, to escalate so they can appropriate the oil resources that they found,” he remarked. “So ExxonMobil is using Guyana as a Trojan Horse to destabilize the Caribbean and the South America region. They don’t care about the good relations between us, they just care about…to
appropriate, to gain the oil resources.”
Both countries lay claim to the potentially mineral and oil-rich Essequibo Region, which is not part of Venezuela nor has it been since the days of the Spanish Empire. Venezuela will be holding a referendum on December 3, and one of the questions being posed to citizens is whether they agree to make the region a state of Venezuela.
It is undeniable the recent saber-rattling by Venezuela has to do with the discovery of oil in the region. According to Forbes Magazine,
“Guyana may have oil deposits in excess of 11 billion barrels, which, if developed, will make its population richer than Kuwait or UAE.”
The magazine said Venezuela has the largest oil reserves and even with the discovery of new reserves in the Essequibo Region, it will be unlikely to help the Spanish-speaking country, “given the self-inflicted difficulties it has in exporting what it currently has.
“The timing of the referendum strongly implies that President Nicolas Maduro’s decision is motivated by domestic politics and the potential for a combination of national enrichment via territorial aggrandizement,” it said.
Meanwhile, Guyana has described the referendum as an “existential threat” and has urged the United Nations’ top court to stop it but Venezuela has vowed to go ahead with it no matter what.