In 2014, Royal Dutch Shell sold off its acreage in the Stabroek block for $1 and left the country after more than a decade of failed exploration. When ExxonMobil sought new partners for the Stabroek Block, only 2 out of 22 companies were interested.
Prior to 2015 international firms had drilled more than 40 failed wells offshore Guyana over three decades with no commercially viable finds.( there was nothing there and no one thought that we would find anything there)
( it really is true that the Venezuelan threat loomed large in the shadow of this deal)
Guyana has had longstanding maritime border disputes with neighbouring Venezuela and Suriname that makes it a politically risky environment. In 2000, a Surinamese gunboat threatened to fire on a CGX rig as it attempted to prepare an exploration well. In 2013, an exploration vessel chartered by Anadarko Petroleum was conducting seismic work off the Guyanese coast when it was approached by a Venezuelan navy vessel and forced to sail to Margarita Island where it was detained. In December 2018, the Venezuelan Navy intercepted and attempted to land a helicopter on an ExxonMobil exploration vessel within Guyanese territorial waters. Venezuela claims more than half of Guyana’s territory.