Above: the Deepwater Champion
By the Caribbean Journal staff
US energy giant ExxonMobil is launching its nearly $200 million oil exploration project in the waters off the coast of Guyana.
The company’s ship, Deepwater Champion, is at the Starbroek Block offshore, according to a government statement.
The country’s president, Donald Ramotar, was on hand this week to tour ExxonMobil’s office on Market Street in Georgetown, receiving a briefing from ExxonMobil’s country manager Jeff Simons.
“I’m quite impressed with what is taking place, and looking forward to going out myself,” Ramotar said.
The project is slated to be carried out over a 10-year period, with three periods of two phases each.
The operations include a drillship with 200 crew and contractors; helicopter support, two shore bases and a waste treatment facility.
Oil exploration is not new for the country on the coast of South America, which first struck oil in the 1980s.
The country’s government said there was “high optimism” that oil would be found in “commercial quantities.”
ExxonMobil joins a number of other firms exploring in Guyana’s offshore basin, including Repsol, Anadarko Guyana Co, CGX Energy and Nabi Oil and Gas.
The move has led to tensions between Guyana and neighbouring Venezuela, which reportedly objects to the offshore project.