GLOBAL ECONOMY

Despite objections from Venezuela, ExxonMobil launches search for oil off Guyana's coast

NEW ORLEANS - APRIL 28:  An oil rig near the Deepwater Horizon wellhead in the Gulf of Mexico on April 28, 2010 near New Orleans, Louisiana.  An estimated leak of 1,000-5,000 barrels of oil a day are still leaking into the gulf.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

NEW ORLEANS - APRIL 28: An oil rig near the Deepwater Horizon wellhead in the Gulf of Mexico on April 28, 2010 near New Orleans, Louisiana. An estimated leak of 1,000-5,000 barrels of oil a day are still leaking into the gulf. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)  (2010 Getty Images)

A subsidiary of U.S.-based ExxonMobil Corp. has begun exploratory drilling for oil and gas off Guyana's coast in South America.

The launch of the $300 million project comes amid heavy objection from Venezuela's government, which claims the area being explored belongs to it.

ExxonMobil country manager Jeff Simmons said Friday that drilling will last about 60 days.

Venezuela has long claimed two-thirds of Guyana's territory as its own and has taken action in the past. About two years ago, Venezuela detained a ship conducting a seismic study under a concession from Guyana. It was released after a week.

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