Apr 05, 2018 News
When it comes to the nation’s Contingency Oil Spill Plan, not a single expert on the subject, has been contracted to provide assistance. Instead, a team of locals sought to go it alone.
Kaieteur News understands that the nation’s draft plan is a collage of borrowings from the plans of other countries such as Trinidad and Tobago; a CARICOM sister-state whose geographical makeup is vastly different from Guyana’s.
This newspaper was able to confirm this yesterday with Kester Craig, the Director General (ag) of the Civil Defence Commission (C DC).
Craig said that more than 20 local agencies were involved in the drafting of the document. He said that more work is in the pipeline. Additionally, the Director General said that while no authority on the issue was consulted during the initial stages, this option may be pursued later on.
While no specialist was used for the crafting of such a crucial document, the government has taken a different approach to other documents of similar import.
Guyana is already receiving help with its Local Content Policy. This plan provides guidance on how oil companies are expected to employ locals and use indigenous goods and services. Given the nation’s inexperience in drafting such documents, local authorities contracted the services of international expert, Anthony Paul. He has already completed the final draft of the document.
During the recent consultations on the plan, Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman, congratulated the Civil Defence Commission for their efforts in moving preparations forward on the document.
The Minister said, “When one engages Guyanese on the Coast or in the interior locations, two issues are often raised, jobs and our preparation for a potential oil spill. This tells us that the topic is a high priority for Guyanese so no effort must be spared in ensuring that we are prepared for any eventualities.”
“As you are aware, on May 15, 2015, Guyanese woke up to the reality that we have large quantities of Petroleum in the Liza 1 well located approximately 120 miles offshore Guyana.
Six successful wells later, those initial reserves have now grown considerably from the initial reserves estimate of 800 million barrels of oil equivalent, to 3.2 billion barrels and counting.”
Trotman added, “With every new find, the importance of a National Oil Spill Contingency Plan takes on an even more important role. While as a government, we are cognizant of the potential risks which come with developing this new-found petroleum resource, we are equally committed to the protection of our environment and Guyana continues to be a fierce proponent for its protection internationally.”
As the lead agency tasked with completing the process of creating a comprehensive National Oil Spill Contingency Plan to guide national response, Trotman said that the Civil Defence Commission can be assured of the full support of the of the Government through the Ministry of Natural Resources.
He noted that support mobilization has already begun since 2017 with the procurement of four containers of oil spill response equipment and accessories including Booms, skimmers, dispersant, etc.
Trotman said that these are presently stored at the CDC’s Alternate National Emergency Operations Centre (ANEOC) at Timehri and will soon be pre-positioned at various locations to facilitate ease in deployment should the need arise.
Also in 2017, Trotman reminded that the Ministry of Natural Resources held a Public Lecture on Oil Spill Response Readiness in collaboration with ExxonMobil and the Guyana Oil and Gas Energy Chamber (GOGEC) to promote awareness and address concerns surrounding this very important topic.
Further, the Natural Resources Minister said that capacity building is forthcoming through training for stakeholder representatives in the areas of Incident Command Systems (ICS) and Fundamentals of Oil Spill Management. He said that these training exercises will be held between April 23-28, 2018 at the CDC’s emergency operations centre at Timehri and Splashmin’s Resort respectively.
Trotman noted that stakeholder involvement at all levels is also critical to the development of a robust plan that can hold its own internationally and protect the country in the event of an oil spill.
The politician said, “I am happy to see that the CDC has taken a truly collaborative approach to the development of the plan by involving important stakeholders (Guyana Energy Agency, Maritime Administration Department, Environmental Protection Agency, Guyana Geology and Mines Commission and Guyana Defence Force) in the process. The plan will also be reviewed by Cabinet after consultations are completed.”
He added, “As you begin your collective deliberations on the form and substance of the National Oil Spill Contingency Plan, I charge you to see your work here as important and craft a National Oil Spill Contingency Plan that can efficiently and effectively keep our offshore waters free of pollution and our beautiful coastlines pristine for the enjoyment of future generations.”
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