Guyana’s first oil production vessel called the Liza Destiny has finally arrived for the Stabroek Block after travelling nearly 11,000 nautical miles from the Keppel Shipyard in Singapore.
According to ExxonMobil in a missive to the media yesterday, the Floating, Production, Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessel journeyed for 42 days, after a ceremony in June 2019 at which First Lady Sandra Granger was named “Godmother”.
It was noted by ExxonMobil that once the vessel clears customs, it will be connected to the spread mooring before hookup and installation will begin in preparation for production, storage and offloading of Guyana’s oil.
Commenting on the momentous occasion, ExxonMobil Country Manager, Rod Henson said that it is exciting to have another significant milestone completed as the company continues on the road to first oil.
Henson said , “While we still have a great deal of work ahead of us, I’m extremely proud of our entire team, both onshore and offshore, and their focus on working safely and being protective of the environment in all that we do.”
Further to this, it was noted that the Liza Destiny FPSO was converted from oil tanker, “Tina”, a 1999 Very Large Crude Carrier (VLCC). Kaieteur News understands that the conversion included upgrading of the hull and integration of 14 topside processing modules, totaling 16,000 metric tonnes.
The FPSO is a significant component of the Liza Phase One development, which involves four undersea drill centres with 17 production wells. It has a production capacity up to 120,000 barrels of oil per day and an overall storage volume of 1.6 million barrels.
The FPSO will be connected to the wells via separate production (oil, gas, and produced water), gas injection, and water injection flowlines and risers, and associated subsea equipment. The Project will also involve shorebase facilities and marine/aviation services to support development drilling, FPSO and subsea equipment installation, production operations, and ultimately decommissioning.
ExxonMobil’s subsidiary, Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Limited (EEPGL) says it will utilise proven and industry accepted standards and has incorporated many embedded controls into the overall Project design to minimise environmental and socioeconomic impacts. The initial production is expected to begin by mid-2020, with operations continuing for at least 20 years. The Project is expected to employ up to 600 persons during well drilling, approximately 600 persons at the peak of the installation stage, and up to about 140 persons during production operations.
Furthermore, the planned activities of the Liza Phase One Project are predicted to have minor impacts on physical resources (i.e., air quality, marine sediments, and water quality), no impacts on coastal biological resources, minor impacts on marine biological resources, and largely positive impacts on socioeconomics. This news agency understands that these predictions are based on the fact that the bulk of the project activity will occur approximately 190 km (120 miles) offshore, and the project will capture and re-inject produced natural gas, which is not used as fuel on the FPSO, back into the Liza reservoir; treat required wastewater streams prior to discharge to the sea; have a very small physical footprint (e.g., infrastructure construction disturbs only about 0.3 km2 of benthic habitat); and use Marine Mammal Observers (MMO) during selected activities to minimise the potential impacts to marine mammals due to auditory injury and ships strikes.
As it relates to unplanned events, EEPGL’s Environmental Impact Assessment notes that a large oil spill is unlikely to occur because of the extensive preventative measures employed by EEPGL. Nevertheless, the document notes that an oil spill is considered possible, and EEPGL has conducted oil spill modelling to evaluate the range of likely spill trajectories and rates of travel.
It was noted that the location of the project, prevailing northwest currents, the light nature of the Liza field crude oil, and the region’s warm waters would all help minimise the severity of a spill. Accounting for these factors, the modelling indicates only a five to 10 percent probability of any oil reaching the Guyana coast, without taking into consideration the effectiveness of any oil spill response, and in the unlikely event that a spill were even to occur.
Although the probability of an oil spill reaching the Guyana coast is very small, the EIA notes that a spill at a Liza well would likely impact marine resources found near the well, such as sea turtles and certain marine mammals that may transit or inhabit the area impacted by a spill. Air quality, water quality, seabirds, and marine fish could also be impacted, although likely to a lesser extent because the duration of acute impacts would not be long and the impacts are reversible.
Additionally, the EIA states that a spill could potentially impact Guyanese fishermen if commercial fish and shrimp were impacted. The document notes that the magnitude of this impact would depend on the volume and duration of the release as well as the time of year the release were to occur (e.g., whether a spill would coincide with the time of year when these species are more common).
Kaieteur News understands that effective implementation of the Oil Spill Response Plan (OSRP) would help mitigate this risk by further reducing the ocean surface area impacted by a spill and thereby reduce oil exposure to these species.
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