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Guyana and Exxon in talks


Guyana’s government is 'in discussion' with Exxon Mobil after two ships searching for oil off the South American country’s coast halted work following a weekend confrontation with Venezuela’s navy, Guyana’s foreign minister said.

Both neighboring South American countries said the incident had occurred within their territorial waters. A century-long border dispute has heated up in recent years as Irving, Texas-based Exxon has discovered more than 5 billion barrels of oil and gas off Guyana’s shores. Guyana Foreign Affairs Minister Carl Greenidge said he could not 'for the moment' say whether the two ships owned by Norway’s Petroleum Geo-Services and hired by Exxon would resume their seismic survey, or if they would return to the area where the incident occurred, citing the ongoing talks with Exxon.

When asked if Guyanese authorities would provide the vessels with protection if they continue exploration, he said Guyana is 'committed to resolving territorial disputes by peaceful means.'

'We will therefore first try to explore and exhaust Diplomatic channels,' Greenidge said in an emailed response to questions from Reuters. 'Guyana is a small state of less than a million persons compared with Venezuela’s population of 30 million.'

Earlier, Exxon declined to say when the survey would restart.

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