Venezuela is eyeing Guyana’s Oil Riches

December 8, 2023

Venezuela is eyeing Guyana’s Oil Riches

On Sunday, December 3, Venezuelans voted in a referendum to annex Essequibo, a region of Guyana that borders Venezuela.  All the oil fields that have propelled Guyana into one of the most exciting new oil producers of the last 5 years happen to be offshore Essequibo.

President Maduro has created a new map of Venezuela, which includes the disputed area and has said that residents that live in Essequibo (which represents two-thirds of Guyana’s land area) will be granted Venezuelan nationality.  He also approved oil, gas and mining exploration licenses and encouraged state oil company PDVSA to start right away.  Not surprisingly, his counterpart in Guyana, President Irfaan Ali took a dim view of Maduro’s referendum and actions.

He called the Venezuelan moves “an imminent threat” and a desperate attempt”.  What is the background of this conflict and is there a chance that Venezuela will indeed get access to Guyana’s offshore oil fields?

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