By Kemol King
ExxonMobil is set to lift 300,000 barrels of oil from Liza-1 to fill up storage tanks, providing additional stability for the Liza Destiny Floating, Production, Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessel when production starts.
The company’s local subsidiary, Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Limited (EEPGL), told Kaieteur News through its Government and Public Affairs Advisor, Janelle Persaud, “At any given time, there will always be at least 300,000 barrels of crude onboard the Liza Destiny.”
While it may be thought that the storage capacity for crude, of the Liza Destiny, is 1.6M barrels, the vessel has additional storage space for the additional 300,000 barrels.
In previous reports, Kaieteur News noted that ExxonMobil detailed the use of water in its ballast tanks.
Ballast water is carried in ships’ ballast tanks to improve stability. It is taken up or discharged when cargo is unloaded or loaded, or when a ship needs extra stability in poor weather.
On its voyage from Singapore, the Liza Destiny travelled with ballast water taken up from the ocean there, and is later meant to be discharged while offshore Guyana.
This was iterated in Esso’s Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the Liza-1 project.
Research conducted by this publication points to potential concerns about harmful fluids making their way into the ocean from that ballast water.
Asked about this, Persaud had been keen to note that all vessels supporting the company’s operations comply with international ballast water management plans, adding that they are equipped with sewage treatment facilities that meet international standards.
A cursory search of the EIA found no mention of ballast crude, but this is understood to be because, unlike ballast water, there will be no discharge of the ballast crude into the environment. Hence, environmental damage where this crude is concerned is not a matter of worry.
Persaud assured that the 300,000 barrels of ballast crude will be sold at the end of the life of Liza-1 project.
It should also be noted that while the vessel will take up so many barrels of oil to balance it, the crude will not completely replace all of the ballast water. It will accompany it, albeit in separate compartments. The amount of water kept in the ballast tanks will vary, depending on how much is needed to keep the boat balanced in the ocean with changing weather conditions.
While the choice could have been made to use water alone to balance the vessel, the saltwater is known to be corrosive. And because the Liza Destiny will be immobile for years, with no movement to a shipyard for routine maintenance, it is better to use less of the corrosive saltwater.
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