A ship hired by ExxonMobil was approached by a Venezuelan naval vessel off the coast of Guyana, one of the most serious incidents yet in oil-rich waters that Venezuela has long claimed as its own.
The Venezuelans did not board the ship and have since left the area, according to a statement issued by Norway’s Petroleum Geo-Services, which was performing a seismic survey on behalf of Irving, Texas-based ExxonMobil.
Bard Stenberg, PSG’s senior vice president for communications, declined to provide further details about the incident, but said the vessel, Ramform Tethys, had not resumed operations and was now heading eastward.
He said the ship was working under Guyanese authority and had all required permits.
ExxonMobil in a statement said that it was working to ensure the safety of all crew members.
Exxon drilled its first successful well off the coast of Guyana in 2015 and since then has made nine more discoveries, including one this month that boosted to 5 billion oil-equivalent barrels the company’s estimate of reserves in the deep-water area.