Jan 26, 2021 News
By Mikaila Prince
Kaieteur News had recently reported that with 10 Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessels, ExxonMobil would be dumping two million barrels of toxic produced water into Guyana’s waters every day.
Recent calculations now show that not only would Exxon – which flaunts itself as an effective manager of its waste – be dumping those millions of barrels of produced water, but up to 29,000 barrels of oil that would be contained in that toxic water.
Kaieteur News arrived at this figure based on initial projections by the former Director of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Dr. Vincent Adams.
Dr. Adams, during a Moray House Trust virtual discussion titled, Guyana’s Oil: Priorities for 2021, had indicated that based on his perusal of data from the Payara Environmental Permit, Exxon is expected to dump 200,000 barrels of produced water per day. Multiply that by 10, Dr. Adams had stated, that it would amount to two million barrels of toxic water being dumped into Guyana’s ocean, which can leave significant environmental damage, placing marine life and ecosystems at peril.
It should also be noted that Dr. Adams’ two-million-barrel projection appears to be based on an assumption that all FPSOs moving forward will have similar specifications as Liza Two and Payara.
Notwithstanding this, what the former EPA Director had also made pertinent to weigh in, is that the produced water is allowed to contain “.42 milliligrams per litre of oil,” and with the dumping of about two million barrels per day, about 80 barrels of oil produced by the projected 10 FPSOs would also be unloaded into the ocean.
Multiply those 80 barrels of oil by 365, which would indicate the days of the year, and this would amount to 29,200 barrels. The effects of this dumping could be catastrophic, as it could kill plants and animals, disturb salinity/pH levels, pollute air/water and more.
“On top of that,” Dr. Adams had added, “the temperature of the water that is being dumped is like 55 degrees centigrade. The temperature of the ocean is about 20-23 degrees centigrade. Now that’s about two and a half times, so you cannot tell me that and make public statements that are totally, as far as I am concerned, irresponsible to say,” as he referenced claims by President of ExxonMobil Guyana, Alistair Routledge, who had said that the water has no effect on the environment.
Despite Routledge’s claim, the company has never actually reported doing a study.
Reinjection of that water has to be the only option
With aims of protecting Guyana’s marine life and environment, Dr. Adams was adamant that Exxon must re-inject the extracted, toxic water, while admonishing the US-oil giant for misleading the public after it said that the World Bank recommended that it should dump the produced water into the ocean.
“That is a lie,” he had insisted. “The World Bank never recommended the discharge of water in the ocean. The World Bank said, however, that that has to be the last resort if it is not technically or financially feasible. Well, we know that it is technically feasible and you cannot tell me that it is not financially feasible.”
It would cost Exxon $300M to re-inject the produced water in the Payara well, Dr. Adams had reminded, while stating that, “You’re telling me that the lives and the health and safety of the environment of the Guyanese people are not worth $300M when you’re making tens of billions, or even hundreds of billions of dollars?”
It is against this background that Dr. Adams said, “Reinjection of that water has to be to the only option.”
Notably, Dr. Adams had been leading the charge for ExxonMobil to have in place, the relevant technology to re-inject any and all toxic water extracted during the oil production process. However, he was fired by the Irfaan Ali administration before he could see this and other environmental issues regarding the Payara project to fruition.
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