SAN JUAN – Guyana’s Ministry of Natural Resources has authorized Tullow Guyana and Eco Atlantic to explore for oil in the 1,802 sq. kilometer (696 sq. mile) offshore Orinduik Block, which lies in the coastal waters of Essequibo, a region claimed by neighboring Venezuela.
The companies agreed to form a joint venture to carry out a geological and geophysical evaluation within the initial 10-year period of the license, a ministry official confirmed to EFE Wednesday via phone.
The Guyana subsidiary of Ireland’s Tullow Oil plc is already a partner of Spanish energy major Repsol in prospecting for crude in the adjacent Kanuku Block.
Tullow Exploration & Business Unit Manager for South America John McKenna, Eco Chief Operating Officer Colin Kinley and Natural Resources Minister Raphael Trotman signed the agreement.
On May 20, ExxonMobil announced a major oil find in Essequibo coastal waters, giving new urgency to the century-old boundary dispute between Guyana and Venezuela.
A week later, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro issued a decree asserting his country’s sovereignty over the waters off the coast of Essequibo, a resource-rich area of 167,839 sq. kilometers (64,800 sq. miles).