World Bulletin / News Desk
Exxon Mobil Corp. announced Friday that it had discovered a major oil reservoir off the coast of the South American nation Guyana.
The oil discovery occurred in a region deep in the Atlantic Ocean called the Stabroek Block that spans 26,800 square kilometers (6.6 million acres).
Neighboring country Venezuela has pressed claims that it possesses some parts of the block.
The reservoir found by Exxon Mobil’s Ranger-1 well is the sixth major discovery the company has made off Guyana’s coast since 2015. The well was drilled to a depth of 6,450 meters (21,161 feet) in 2,735 meters (8,973 feet) of water.
“This latest success operating in Guyana’s significant water depths illustrates our ultra deepwater and carbonate exploration capabilities,” said Steve Greenlee, the president of ExxonMobil Exploration Company, in a statement.
“This discovery proves a new play concept for the 6.6 million acre Stabroek Block and adds further value to our growing Guyana portfolio.”
The company says that it plans to further explore the Stabroek Block for oil throughout the rest of 2018.
For the past several years, Venezuela has called on Exxon Mobil to cease drilling in the Stabroek Block until its border dispute with Guyana is resolved. In December, the Guyanese government said the oil company was funding its legal fight against its neighbor. The United Nations is expected to send the dispute to the International Court of Justice by the end of March, according to remarks from Guyanese officials.
Last year, insults and threats were traded between the White House and the government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was chief executive of Exxon Mobil when it began drilling in the Stabroek Block in 2015 and clashed with Maduro.
Venezuela is in the midst of a political and economic crisis partly caused by dipping revenues of its state-owned oil company PDVSA.
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