ExxonMobil to Fund Guyana Lawsuit Against Venezuela

US oil giant ExxonMobil has agreed to cover the cost of Guyana's US$15 million legal fees in its territorial dispute with Venezuela. 

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ExxonMobil seeks to sway the court’s decision in favor of Guyana, who they see as more friendly towards their interests. (Reuters)

U.S. oil giant ExxonMobil has teamed up with Guyana to bring the Guyana-Venezuela border issue before the International Court of Justice.

The multinational oil company seeks to sway the court’s decision in favor of Guyana, who they see as more friendly towards their interests. To this end, ExxonMobil has agreed to finance the country’s legal fees which are estimated to be about $15 million.

Officials from Guyana indicated that their aim with the large amount of money provided by the oil company “is to assist with the border process as the UN Secretary General has promised to refer the case to the World Court in about four weeks time."

“Our national sovereignty is riding on this issue and it will be remiss of us if we are not prepared and all resources are not put in place. The actual amount is more than US$15M but less than US$20M. This is not the first time we are going this route as it was done with the CGX Energy and Suriname after the June 2000 incident with the Surinamese coastguard. The PPP [People's Progressive Party] was then in office. This is nothing new. This is not a signing bonus, but rather we are garnering the resources to prepare for the case. This is a sovereignty issue,” the officials said.

The situation became more complicated in 2015 when ExxonMobil discovered a large amount of oil in disputed regions, which forced a schism between Venezuela and Guyana.

Both Venezuela and Guyana have committed to increasing dialogue in the past, though intervention by foreign oil companies has created a deep divide.

Venezuela has laid claim to the disputed border area between Guyana and Venezuela, as well as oil-rich territories in the Caribbean, since its year of independence, 1821.

Edited by Venezuelanalysis.com. 

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