Sep 01, 2020 News Comments Off on Exxon’s Guyana President claims produced water not harmful, despite no study done
As the government continues its review of the Payara Field Development Plan (FDP), there have been calls from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for ExxonMobil to put systems in place to re-inject the toxic water that accompanies the oil during extraction, instead of simply dumping it into the ocean. But ExxonMobil has since insisted that it wants to continue disposing of the water by dumping it in the same manner since the systems being asked for by the EPA would be too costly.
In his most recent engagement with the media, President of ExxonMobil Guyana, Alistair Routledge posited that the oil giant wants to continue with its mode of operations since the produced water is treated and has no effect on the environment.
Routledge said, “The water we produce on the vessel is treated and what is discharged causes no damage to the environment and is treated according to international standards and it is no harm at all. There is a discussion on whether we go to a different standard, which is to re-inject that water. But there are some potential risks to doing that.”
The Country Manager added, “There are some chemistry issues between the produced water and the reservoir fluids, which could cause problems such as raising fractures in that part of the reservoir and also potential environmental impacts of treating and re-injecting that water in addition to seawater in the sense that you can have more air emissions because of the additional energy that is needed for that. But it is a balancing act in protecting the environment and maximizing the returns of the State from the project.”
While Routledge claims that there are no effects of treated water being dumped into the ocean, there is no such information supporting this in the EPA’s possession. Not a single study was ever commissioned to determine this as well.
International best practices dictate that produced water should be re-injected into the earth’s surface. Because no two geographic regions are alike, there is a plethora of material that categorically state that studies should be done to assess the environmental risks of the produced water’s toxicity on marine life before granting approval for the disposal of it into the ocean.
Further research also notes that produced water is regarded as a high-volume toxic waste. It was also noted that the treatment of produced water is very important hence there would be a need for regulatory bodies to ascertain if the appropriate technologies are being utilized in the treatment process and for a further study to be done to understand the effects of the treated water on the environment. Kaieteur News was also able to confirm that the EPA does not know what technologies are being used by ExxonMobil in this regard. (https://academic.oup.com/ijlct/article/9/3/157/807670)
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