If urgent modifications are not done to the nation’s Georgetown-based hazardous waste treatment facilities, then, more than likely, they will be unable to treat all of the harmful solids and waste oil produced by ExxonMobil’s subsidiary, Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Limited (EEPGL) by late 2020.
This was noted in the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), ExxonMobil commissioned for its Payara field in the Stabroek Block. In fact, a separate assessment by the operator of the Georgetown-based non-hazardous waste landfill concluded that the capacity of the landfill, without opening a new cell, will be exhausted by the end of 2019.
Further to this, it was noted in the EIA that there are a limited number of facilities for the treatment of hazardous waste in Guyana, although interest in developing such facilities is growing commensurate with the planned expansion of oil and gas activities. It was further stated that currently, a private-sector contractor has the only existing facility in Guyana capable of treating hazardous wastes.
Kaieteur News understands that EEPGL has been using this contractor to manage a range of wastes generated during the Liza Phase One Development Project, Liza Phase Two Development Project, and exploration activities.
It has plans to continue using this contractor for the Project. In addition to this, the EIA indicated that the Payara project may potentially use tank-cleaning services from other contractors out of Guyana and Trinidad.
Importantly, the EIA was keen to note that the viability of projects being operated by Exxon depends on reliable access to waste management infrastructure of a sufficient quality and with satisfactory capacity. In view of this need to ensure project viability, and in recognition of the potential future capacity constraints and potential impacts on non-project users of Georgetown-based waste management infrastructure, several mitigation measures were recommended.
It was suggested that mechanisms be put in place to enable increases to existing Georgetown-based waste management capacity for hazardous wastes, that new Georgetown-based hazardous waste treatment facility or facilities be explored, and that suitable alternative regional solutions be identified.
In addition to these and other mitigation measures, the EIA notes that Exxon will implement a number of waste management-related embedded controls.
The document states that the implementation of these mitigation measures and embedded controls will reduce the effects of Project-related demands on waste management infrastructure capacity, particularly related to hazardous waste management.
PAYARA PROJECT OVERVIEW
According to documents in the possession of the Environmental Protection Agency, EEPGL’s Payara development will be located in the eastern area of the Stabroek Block which is approximately 190 km (118 miles) from Georgetown.
The operator notes that oil production from Payara is expected to last at least 20 years with startup of the facilities expected to occur approximately in mid-2023.
EEPGL noted that it will drill approximately 35 to 45 wells offshore to support extraction of the oil from below the sea floor. It said that each well will be drilled using a floating drill ship. Also, each well will be directionally drilled to specific reservoir targets generally 4,000 to 5,500 meters (m) below the sea level.
This newspaper understands that the Project is expected to employ up to 600 persons during development well drilling, approximately 600 persons at the peak of the installation stage, and up to about 140 persons during production operations.
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