The Multinational Monitor


G L O B A L   N E W S W A T C H

Superior Oil Withdraws from Dominican Republic

Superior Oil of Houston has withdrawn from what was thought to be a major oil deposit in the southwestern region of the Dominican Republic. Last July President Antonio Guzman announced that the deposit, known as Charco Largo and located in the Enriquillo basin, could meet at least half of the nation's domestic needs.

Superior spokesperson Lewis Satterfield told Multinational Monitor last month that Superior had quit the site because "there was nothing to produce."

Superior Oil and the Guzman government had come under criticism from opposition politicians and from local media for the terms of the deal agreed upon between them (see MM, September, 1981).

Victor Grimaldi, leading journalist on energy matters for La Noticia, one of Santo Domingo's daily newspapers, believes Guzman announced the deposit primarily because "the president was under a lot of pressure to identify something tangible to give hope to the country."

The London-based Latin America Weekly Report says that "a team of Superior executives visited Santo Domingo [in July], where they reached an agreement with Guzman that any official announcement about Charco Largo should be couched in the most cautious terms." Guzman recently lost a struggle to retain his party's nomination in the upcoming presidential elections.

The Latin America Weekly Report also claimed that there were several rumors around July of Superior Oil discoveries in other areas, which led to "a sharp rise in the value of Superior's shares, many of which were sold at a considerable profit."

Superior has transferred its drilling equipment from Charco Largo to a concession held by Carboil, a North American firm, close to the town of Banica on the western border of the country.

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