Jul 29, 2016 News
With Guyana now poised to enter the Oil, and later Gas industry, and the Government now in the process of training individuals desirous of entering this new avenue, the question was asked about the readiness of ExxonMobil in the event of a possible ‘catastrophe’.
The question was asked by the Chairman of the Parliamentary Sectoral Committee on Natural Resources and People’s Progressive Party/Civic Member of Parliament, Odinga Lumumba. Responding to his query was the ExxonMobil’s Country Manager, Jeff Simons who stated that the company will attempt to be ready for any eventuality.
Simons added that the company has Tiered Response levels for any kind of eventuality including oil spills.
“We have Tier One kind of capabilities which is the small version locally and as we get to higher levels, we have contracts in place that would put significant materials on the ground coming in immediately from Trinidad and Florida…being airlifted in to respond.”
He continued that drills were conducted and another is expected to commence later next month, while pointing out that they have been working alongside the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other organisations.
Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment, Raphael Trotman – who was also present at the meeting – asserted that the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) is carrying out the regulatory functions and thus far, they are satisfied. He added also that the vessels that are going to be built for the exploratory and production processes will be double-hulled so as to prevent spillage or reduce accidents.
“From the Government’s end, the Coast Guard has been working assiduously…Maritime Division with the US Coast Guard. We have received some training (and) in August a team of five persons will go to New Orleans for training in oil spill safety and environment,”
This team, the Minster said will comprise persons from the EPA, the Ministry of Natural Resources, GGMC, the Maritime Administration (MARAD), and the Coast Guard.
He added that there has been some training going on along with the issuing of several Scholarships via the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) on a regular basis.
Trotman said that he will be meeting soon with several persons from the University of Guyana following a visit to Guyana within the last month from the Western Petroleum Institute, where discussions were held to have persons sent overseas for training.
In addition, the University of the West Indies has also sent a team to lend support in the area of training, which the government will be taking full advantage of, the Minister said.
Trotman added that they are hoping that Exxon Mobil itself can provide long-term courses at its various training facilities.
The Minister stated that many Guyanese who would have departed Guyana years ago to work in the oil and gas industry in other parts of the world such as Vietnam and the Philippines, have been ‘frequently’ submitting expressions of interest. Trotman said that the Ministry is in the process of building a database of these skills.
And according to Simons, a large number of persons who will be manning the vessels will be wielders, pipefitters and Information Technology-oriented individuals.
“We have only done the initial scope studies at some of the institutions here (and) that are still ongoing. When we get closer to an actual vessel being here…We are planning to boost programmes and work with selected institutions to be able to achieve getting the kinds of folks we need out on the vessels,” the ExxonMobil official said.
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