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September 11, 2008
Exxon explores offshore Guyana, official says

GEORGETOWN, Guyana (Reuters) - Exxon Mobil <XOM.N> has begun oil exploration in deep water off Guyana, an industry official said on Wednesday, in a sign of the growing foreign interest in the country after a U.N. boundary ruling.

On Tuesday, Canada's CGX Energy also said it will this month begin offshore exploration, a resumption of its frozen activity after the United Nations ruled a year ago in favor of Guyana in a sea border dispute with Suriname.

Guyana, a former British colony in South America, hailed the ruling last year, hoping it would draw back oil companies to tap reserves offshore and boost an economy that depends on the agriculture and mining industries.

Newell Dennison, manager of the petroleum division in the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission, told Reuters a seismic vessel began exploration late last month in a concession bloc held by Exxon, one of the world's largest companies.

The U.N. decision set a frontier between Guyana and Suriname in the Atlantic Ocean off the northeastern shoulder of South America.

CGX Energy had operated in the waters until Surinamese gunboats expelled the company in 2000 and halted companies' plans for the area.



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