Kaieteur News – Guyana is getting peanuts at present for its oil. Instead of the projected US$300M which was estimated to be earned in the first year of oil production, Guyana was handed a mere US$185M.
The pandemic and the fact that it led to a contraction in global economic activity contributed to this. But Guyanese should not only blame the pandemic. Exxon found itself in difficulty, for most of the year, in meeting an average daily production of 120,000 barrels.
And it was said that one of the reasons for this was technical problems which emerged and which also led to higher levels of flaring than before. Guyana therefore was not only shortchanged but it was also handed environmental problems.
Glenn Lall has been on the frontline of efforts exposing some of the environmental concerns, which this oil production is going to cause. It is believed that millions of barrels of wastewater are being dumped into our waters, and it appears as if the government is totally indifferent to this.
This matter has to be brought to the attention of the international community. Guyana and its leaders cannot be masquerading as environmental champions, when the environmental regime relating to the Liza 1, Liza 2 and Payara projects leave much to be desired.
Last night, Glenn Lall raised concerns about insurance for the Payara project. Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo, the main government spokesperson on oil must explain to the Guyanese people what insurance is in place relating to the potential for damage to our waters, our coastline and the possibility of an oil spill getting into our waterways, which support the rice and sugar industries and inland fishing.
The public needs to hear from the Vice President, as to what protections were negotiated in relation to insurance for possible damage caused to our environment. This has nothing to do with the clean up after any oil spill. That responsibility should be Exxon’s and Exxon’s alone.
What is being referred to is whether the country will be compensated for any damage to the environment and what clauses are built into the Payara permit to ensure that there is insurance for such losses.
This is not a matter, which can be dismissed, in typical PPP/C fashion. This is about people’s lives and their livelihoods.
Most of our people live on the coast. The majority work on the coast. Most have their houses on the coast. The country’s agriculture is not inland; it is on the coast. People in riverine communities use the water from the creeks and river for more than just swimming. They fish in it; they bathe in it and they wash their clothes in it. So what is going to happen should there be contamination of our waterways?
The Department of Public Information reported last September that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had issued an environmental permit which is valid for five years and which requires the oil companies to conduct post-permit studies on reinjection of produced water, flaring, cradle-to-grave waste analysis and capping stack deployment.
This is a case of putting the cart before the horse. The permit should have conditional measures being put in place to re-inject water, reducing flaring to a minimum and disposing of waste in a manner that would not harm the environment. Why would a permit be given instead of insisting on these things be in place prior to the authorization date for the permit. This calls for post-permit studies. These studies should have been insisted on before the permit, not after.
But we are not sure where the country stands on insurance for Payara. It is understood that the EPA had managed to secure substantial insurance coverage for Liza 1 and Liza 2, a measure that experts have said proves that it is possible to renegotiate benefits across the board, including high royalties.
So is the same insurance coverage, which is attached to Liza 1 and Liza 2 available for Payara? Over to the government to let the public know what protections are available!
(The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this newspaper.)
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