The Guyana Energy Agency (GEA) is currently taking steps to prepare for the new responsibilities it will have when Guyana’s National Oil Spill Contingency Plan is finalised.
In an advertisement in yesterday’s newspaper, the agency invited eligible consultants to submit their bids to prepare a report that is aimed at developing GEA’s capacity for spill response.
According to the draft plan, the GEA would be responsible for surveillance of facilities in collaboration with other key organisations, monitoring of all messages and communications from reporters on spills, verification of information received from various agencies as well as the detection and notification of all spills.
Head of the Civil Defence Commission, Colonel Kester Craig, has said that the National Oil Spill Contingency Plan is 90 percent complete. Colonel Craig had explained that from February to July last, a lot of planning had taken place to ensure that the agencies involved are au fait with their respective responsibilities.
The CDC Head added, “…So from February to July last, we met almost every Tuesday and worked on that. We went through every single step of the plan. And we did it that way so that each agency can understand what their role is.”
The official had explained that the team consists of the CDC, the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC), the Guyana Energy Agency (GEA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Coast Guards, Maritime Administration Department (MARAD), and the Department of Energy.
Colonel Craig explained that GGMC will be tasked with offshore monitoring while GEA will monitor onshore facilities such as the shore bases. He explained that the EPA will be in charge of identifying sensitive areas that are likely to be affected while being part of the national assessment team.
The Coast Guards will be tasked with deploying booms and other response materials. MARAD will be working with the vessels while the Department of Energy will function as the main liaison for the operators.
The CDC head had also explained that the responsibilities will continue to be tweaked where necessary as they approach the completion of the document. When the plan is finished, Craig said that other stakeholders would be brought in for consultations such as the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Agriculture, the oil companies, the Protected Areas Commission, the Guyana Revenue Authority, Customs, Immigration, the Guyana Police Force, the Guyana Fire Service and the Guyana Marine Turtle Conservation Society.
Colonel Craig said that in the meantime, all the oil operators are required to have an oil spill plan, which the CDC has approved.
He said, “Every rig, every FPSO, every vessel out there regarding oil is required to have a plan.”
In addition to this, the CDC Head said that millions of dollars worth in equipment have been acquired for oil spill response and most will be dispatched to the Coast Guard soon.
“So even though the plan is not 100 percent complete as yet, I am confident that we are prepared to handle an oil spill,” the CDC Head had stated.
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