The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela on Tuesday voiced its strong objection to the 2022 Licensing Round for oil blocks initiated by the Guyana Government last year. The Venezuelan government contended that Guyana’s maiden auction is illegal, adding that maritime areas have yet to be delimited between the two nations.

At the heart of the issue lies the assertion that the Government of Guyana lacks sovereign rights over these contested maritime zones. Consequently, Venezuela has noted that any activities conducted within these boundaries are deemed violations of international law, unless they are carried out through a mutual agreement between Guyana and Venezuela.

President Irfaan Ali has already come to the fore to address Venezuela’s objection, noting that Guyana reserves the right to auction its oil blocks as it is a part of the country’s sovereign territory. He said, “The Government of Guyana reserves the right to pursue economic development activities in any portion of its sovereign territory or any appurtenant maritime territories. Any unilateral attempt by Venezuela to restrict the exercise by Guyana of its sovereignty and sovereign rights will be wholly inconsistent with the Geneva Agreement and the rule of international law.”

Guyana and Venezuela have been engaged in a border controversy for years, with Venezuela claiming to be the rightful holder of Guyana’s Essequibo territory. The case is currently before the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

The bid round which was initiated in December 2022, attracted bids for eight out of the 14 blocks that were up for tender. It is expected that awards will be made before the end of the year.


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