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GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Mar 16 2017 – The Energy and Petroleum Commission in Venezuela has rejected the oil operations in Guyana’s Essequibo region.

A report in El Nacional – a Venezuelan newspaper – said the Energy and Petroleum Commission of its National Assembly is convinced that the ongoing oil exploration violates the Geneva agreement of 1966 and Article 10 of The Bolivarian Constitution of Venezuela, “which clearly establishes the Venezuelan territory.”

Venezuela has been claiming Guyana’s territory for several decades although the issue was settled since 1899.

The report said the draft agreement was tabled by the vice-president of the parliamentary body Elías Matta, “who explained that as stipulated in Article 5 of the Geneva Agreement, no resource can be exploited if there is no agreement between both nations.

“Deputy Matta said the Guyana government carried out the expansion of oil prospecting operations in May 2015, in which Exxon-Mobil reported a discovery at the Liza-1 well on the Stabroek Block. Likewise, on November 17, 2016, the commercialization of the same was announced, estimating its recoverable resources between 800 million and 1.4 billion barrels of high quality crude oil belonging to the coastal waters of the Essequibo”, the report noted.

The Commission wants the Venezuelan government to send this “agreement” to the new UN Good Officer for the Guyana/Venezuela conflict.

The Venezuelan Parliamentary Commission also wants the UN official “to immediately suspend all operations carried out within the maritime area corresponding to the territory in claim until the dispute is resolved”.

But local officials familiar with the process said the UN Good Officer has no such powers.

Venezuela has consistently been raising its voice about the border controversy since the announcement of the oil discovery in Guyana’s territorial waters.

Two years ago, the Venezuelan President had issued a decree claiming Guyana’s territorial waters, where the oil exploration was taking place. That decree was eventually recalled.

President David Granger has said that the Guyana-Venezuela border row was settled way back in 1899 and a judicial settlement may now be needed to settle it once and for all.

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