Jul 31, 2019 News
The Mayor and City Council of Georgetown is appealing to the proprietor of the proposed Houston Chemical Warehouse, John Fernandes Ltd. to comply with regulations, after it received reports that it may not be honouring a cease work order issued by the Council.
During a press conference yesterday, the Chairperson of the City Works Committee, Ekita Edwards, said that after hearing the concerns of residents of Houston Estates and surrounding communities, the council moved a motion on July 22, 2019, issuing a cease order to the proprietor.
“We do believe that the petrochemical bond should not be constructed within that area,” Edwards stated. She said that the work being done is unauthorised, as any sort of building construction to happen in the City must be approved by City Hall beforehand.
It was revealed during the press briefing that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) also issued a cease order. For the construction of a chemical warehouse, the agency is supposed to conduct an Environmental Impact Assessment but that has not been completed.
Kaieteur News understands that the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA) is also a stakeholder in this process.
Edwards expressed concerns from the Council about the proprietor’s compliance with the cease order, or the lack thereof.
“We would have received several complaints. Also, our inspectors would have reported accordingly that the bond is still being constructed. And that is why we’re here today.”
Nalco Champion, the company John Fernandes Ltd. partnered with for the proposed facility, had announced earlier this month, after concerns were raised by residents, that it would wait on the EPA’s Environmental Impact Assessment. John Fernandes Limited had made a similar announcement during a recent press conference at the New Guyana School, near the area for the proposed facility.
Furthermore, the Deputy Town Clerk (acting) Sherry Jerrick, discussed the fact that the area earmarked by John Fernandes Ltd. for the facility was originally intended to be used for agricultural purposes. The City’s records have the land listed for that purpose, she said. As a result, the City is now looking to determine whether other agencies might have approved the use of the land for another purpose.
City Engineer (acting) Kenton Boston said that all construction works within the City “should be guided by the City Engineer’s Department and we’d authorise that before you start”.
Boston explained that, sometimes, a contractor may suggest work that causes some infraction. In these cases, the City would have to inspect and ensure that there is no such infraction.
Edwards said it is hoped that “all entities who may want to build and construct” would go through the proper channels.
In May, SBM Offshore N.V., a consortium of companies, which provides services to the oil industry, announced that it was contracted by ExxonMobil’s subsidiary, Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Limited (EEPGL) for the next phase of the Liza project in Guyana. Under these contracts, SBM Offshore will construct, install and thereafter lease and operate for up to two years the Liza Unity FPSO.
In a notice, Nalco had indicated its intention to work with SBM Offshore/ExxonMobil.
The company, Nalco Champion, provides services to the upstream and midstream oil and gas industry, refineries and petrochemical operations.
In a notice from the EPA, the company’s intention to construct the plant was published. It has proposed that chemicals be transported from that terminal to the John Fernandes Water Street port for transfer to the Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessels offshore Guyana.
Hence, the facility is intended for filtration, storage and warehousing of oilfield chemicals, which are to be supplied to the FPSO vessels. It is estimated, if the proposal is approved, that 1,493,000 kgs of specialty and commodity chemicals would be imported and stored onsite, and that it will occupy 5,000 square metres with the intension of extending to 20,000 square metres as oil production increases.
Further, the company intends to construct office spaces and a laboratory; store mechanical equipment and parts, and transport chemicals.
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