In high school, my US History teacher said any time you don’t know the answer to a history question, just write “money.” You’ll probably be correct.
With that in mind, check out this odd little story from the Latin American Herald Tribune:
Venezuela Says Guyana Expansion of Legal Sea Limits “Irregular”
…Guyana was expanding its continental shelf 150 nautical miles under the new rules of the Law of the Sea from the former standard of a 200 nautical mile outer limit of existing exclusive economic zones.
Guyana’s request to extend its continental shelf by 150 miles was not the only one submitted to the UN Commission that can affect Venezuela’s maritime domain in the eastern part of the country. Trinidad & Tobago and Barbados have also made submissions…
Because the story was written in Venezuela, it quite bizarrely focuses entirely on a supposed threat to Venezuelan sovereignty. But the real issue here is money — in particular, oil money.
What’s going on off the Guyana coast these days?
TORONTO, ONTARIO–(Marketwire – Sept. 29, 2011) – CGX Energy Inc. (TSX VENTURE:OYL – News; “CGX” or the “Company”) is pleased to announce that the Government of Guyana has stated it will grant an extension to the deadline for drilling of the Jaguar-1 well offshore Guyana to the parties to the Georgetown Petroleum Prospecting Licence (the “Georgetown PPL”), including CGX Resources Inc, a wholly owned subsidiary of CGX Energy Inc..
The parties to the Georgetown PPL are Repsol Exploracion S.A (15%) (“Repsol”), being the operator, along with YPF Guyana Limited (30%), Tullow Guyana BV (30%) and CGX Resources Inc. (25%). The basis for the extension was that the Atwood Beacon jack-up rig that will drill the Jaguar-1 well has been significantly delayed while drilling offshore Suriname.
Suriname is where Teikoku, Repsol, and Murphy Oil are poking around for offshore oil.
And just a wee bit further down the coast in France, September 9:
LONDON (Dow Jones)–U.K.-listed oil companies Tullow Oil PLC (TLW.LN) and Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDSB.LN) said Friday they have opened up a new hydrocarbon basin offshore French Guiana with the discovery of a good quality oil reservoir from their first wildcat well.
Tullow shares soared on the news, trading up 11.3% at GBP13.66 and leading gainers on the FTSE 100 index at 0739 GMT. Shell’s B shares were up about 0.5%.
The Zaedyus well was drilled in a geological structure that Tullow believed could be a mirror of the Jubilee play offshore West Africa, where it has discovered 1.4 billion barrels of oil in recent years and transformed itself into one of the U.K.’s largest independent oil companies.
Which is all to say, I suspect that Guyana’s request for a larger-than-normal maritime extension has more to do with money than with any territorial infringement on Venezuela.
Also, I realize I’m late to the party on this, but it’s worth noting that the discovery in French Guyana gave CGX Energy stock a little bump: