Despite silence in Govt…
– says ExxonMobil taking advantage of Guyana with flaring
Even though it was noticeably silent on critical environmental issues in the oil and gas issues during its last days in office, the Alliance For Change (AFC) said this should not be interpreted as a lack of concern. The party made this statement during a virtual press conference yesterday in response to questions from Kaieteur News.
This news agency asked AFC Leader, Khemraj Ramjattan to explain how he has suddenly found his voice to criticize the current administration’s handling of oil and gas issues when he was far from vocal on how the former Natural Resources Minister, Raphael Trotman handled the oil industry or even how the APNU faction treated with environmental matters when it took the said sector away from Trotman’s oversight.
Kaieteur News pointed out that while the AFC would have told the media while in office that it is against the burning of gas by ExxonMobil, it was completely silent when the American oil giant began flaring gas from December 20, 2019 up to the time it demitted office at the end of July, 2020.
Ramjattan said the coalition administration would have been very vocal on the issue of flaring hence the authorization for ExxonMobil’s permit would have said flaring is only allowed for a couple of days, at most a week. He said too that ExxonMobil had promised that there would be equipment in place to ensure the gas is re-injected instead of being flared. The AFC Leader said he has since been informed that the gas compressor system is malfunctioning and is yet to be fixed for close to nine months due to the travel constraints accompanying the COVID-19 pandemic.
The former Minister said he believes that ExxonMobil is fully aware of the boundaries of its permit with flaring but stressed that the company is simply taking advantage of Guyana. Even though the AFC was not making is concerns known to the media while in office, he said that what the former regime experienced with the oil industry was a “learning curve” hence it is trying to pass on those lessons and ensure the same mistakes are not made with the approval of the Payara permit. He said that the AFC will continue to scrutinize all environmental matters whether flaring or any other issue.
Kaieteur News, by way of extensive research, would have shown how gas flaring contributes to climate change, which has serious implications for the world. The Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria, was keen to note in one of its studies that gas flaring is actually a major source of greenhouse gases (GHG) contributing to global warming which could accelerate the problem of climatic change and harsh living conditions on earth, if not checked.
The Department also notes that there are over 250 toxins released from flaring including carcinogens such as benzopyrene, benzene, carbon disulphide (CS2), carbonyl sulphide (COS) and toluene; metals such as mercury, arsenic and chromium; sour gas with Hydrogen Sulfide (H2S) and Sulfur Dioxide (SO2); Nitrogen oxides (NOx); Carbon dioxide (CO2); and methane (CH4) which contributes to the greenhouse gases.
To date, ExxonMobil has polluted Guyana’s airspace with more than 10 billion cubic feet of gas. On a daily basis, it is burning 12 to 15 million cubic feet.
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