Dec 18, 2019 News
…Fmr. Petroleum Advisor Jan Mangal
Pull Quote: “We are not going to get some leader coming along who is going to fix everything, Guyanese need to take interest, take ownership of their country and destiny, Guyanese need to keep asking questions, Guyanese need to stand up, Guyanese need to get onto the streets if necessary.”
By Gary Eleazar
Former Petroleum Advisor to the David Granger administration, Dr. Jan Mangal, believes that Government must make available publicly, the field preparation plans submitted for the development of oil fields in Guyana’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) in the Stabroek Block.
Dr. Mangal argues that making the plans available for public scrutiny would ensure that companies such as SMB Offshore—which is currently constructing the two Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) Vessels—do not cut corners which could lead to oil spills in future.
In an invited comment, the petroleum specialist, speaking to the plethora of problems that confront the nation as an emerging oil producer, was adamant, “We are not going to get some leader coming along who is going to fix everything.”
According to Dr. Mangal, Guyanese need to take interest, take ownership of their country and destiny, Guyanese need to keep asking questions; Guyanese need to stand up; Guyanese need to get onto the streets if necessary.”
He said too, “The solution space,” with regards challenges that confront the country “is around transparency, getting the data out there so Guyanese people can work with it, having an open government.”
The former Petroleum Advisor reminded that in his implementation plan for the Department for Energy (DoE), he had suggested that even the minutes of their meetings should be public.
According to Dr. Mangal, “The field development plans should be published; there is no reason not to publish them; there is no secret there.”
Dr. Mangal was adamant that improvements in the industry would first come through an open government and transparency and by “getting people involved so they can start trusting their governments.”
“Remember the excuses by Carl Greenidge and Raphael Trotman to keep the Stabroek Block contract secret, when I was advocating to release the contract to the people?”
Speaking to mitigating the risks involved with the industry and its environmental impacts, Dr. Mangal reiterated that incidents such as oil spills occur when contractors “cut corners during design” and at the operational levels.
He used as an example, SMB Offshore and its contract to build the FPSOs for Guyana.
Dr. Mangal noted, “We have not gone and interrogated the design (for the FPSO),” and pointed out that this is the case, since the plans have not been made public for perusal.
He told this publication that at present, “the government does not have the capacity” to effectively interrogate the Field Development Plans being submitted by the operators.
Compounding the situation, “they didn’t hire the right people to do it.”
As such, “We don’t know if SBM and Exxon cut a whole bunch of corners in the design of this FPSO and are we going to see the effects of this in terms of spills later on.”
It was pointed out, too, by Dr. Mangal that oil companies would usually spend significant time on the design stage of projects, in order to minimise those design defects that could be had by cutting corners.
Dr. Mangal lamented that at present, the country is not keeping enough checks and balances targeted in the operator’s direction.
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