Aug 07, 2020 News Comments Off on ExxonMobil would not be able to meet deadline to end flaring – EPA Head
Head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Dr. Vincent Adams, had told Kaieteur News a few weeks ago that ExxonMobil would bring an end to the flaring of gas via the Liza Destiny Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessel on August 10. But the official said he was informed by his staff on Wednesday that the American oil giant would not be able to make that deadline.
Dr. Adams disclosed that the company wants an additional four days to bring the flaring under control. But even that is no guarantee. In the meantime, ExxonMobil he said would continue to burn over 12 million cubic feet of gas which in turn, releases over 200 toxic chemicals into the airspace. Dr. Adams has since asked ExxonMobil to submit a quality assurance and quality control report for the Liza Destiny FPSO.
SBM Offshore, the Dutch company which constructed the Liza Destiny FPSO, also spoke about the issue of flaring in its latest half year report. During the final commissioning phase of the FPSO, the company told its shareholders that the crew encountered some challenges with the gas handling system. As a result of those issues it experienced, ExxonMobil has been forced to flare. SBM said it is working together with its client, ExxonMobil, and suppliers, in order to expedite resolution. Once the system is commissioned, SBM said ExxonMobil will ramp up to full capacity, that is to say, 120,000 barrels of oil per day. SBM said, “Both the safety of the staff on board the FPSO and the efforts to minimize flaring are key priorities for the company.”
During its second quarter earnings call that took place last week, ExxonMobil executives also informed shareholders about the issues being experienced with flaring in Guyana while noting that it has prevented the company from reaching peak production of 120,000 barrels of oil per day. Executives explained that the challenge to fix the mechanical issues in a timely fashion were due to difficulties experienced in mobilizing the technical experts as well as materials in-country due to COVID-19 restrictions. Be that as it may, ExxonMobil was keen to note that these issues are being resolved and noted that there will be 100 percent injection of gas this month.
As the company works towards bringing an end to the flaring onboard the Liza Destiny, toxic chemicals will continue to be released into Guyana’s atmosphere. According to a special study conducted by the World Bank, flaring releases gases that are not only harmful to one’s health but also disastrous to the climate. The report notes that flaring releases more than 250 toxins including cancer causing agents such as benzopyrene, benzene, carbon disulphide (CS2), carbonyl sulphide (COS), and toluene. It also releases metals such as mercury, arsenic, and chromium and nitrogen oxides.
Another study that was conducted by the Suez University in Egypt agrees with the findings of the World Bank Group, while adding that flaring is a significant contributor of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane.
When released into the atmosphere, these gases trap heat to a significant degree. The University’s Department of Petroleum and Chemical Engineering was keen to note that flaring is also considered to be extremely harmful to the environment since it releases methane which has about 25 times greater global warming potential than carbon dioxide.
Other pollutants such as sulfur oxides (SOx) and volatile organic components (VOC) are also released from flaring. These are considered major causes of acid rain and fog, which harm the natural environment and human life. Taking these and other harmful environmental effects into consideration, nations such as Guyana are urged to limit and/or prohibit flaring.
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