Feb 15, 2021 News
Kaieteur News- A data center to provide government with real-time daily updates on ExxonMobil’s operations in the Stabroek Block is in the works for Guyana, says Vice President, Bharrat Jagdeo.
The VP at a recent press engagement relayed that currently, government receives daily updates from Exxon providing information that details the amount of oil produced, volume of produced water, gas production, amount of gas flared and the amount reinjected.
That information, he added, is passed to Guyana’s regulator, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The problem with this however, is that Guyana
has not the capacity to verify what is being relayed by the contractors.
And this is where the data center comes into play.
“That is what we are exploring now to see if through remote means,” the Vice President relayed “that we can verify that this is accurate. So, we do get the daily reports but we have to build that capacity.”
The data center, according to the VP will be “costly” but it is something that cannot be avoided as it is pertinent for a novel oil producing nation to have adequate capacity to monitor the exploration, development and production oil by ExxonMobil so as to ensure what is submitted by the company on paper, is an accurate reflection of what is taking place on the rig.
He outlined “It is a bit costly from…we had some proposals from people…it is a bit costly but there is no avoiding it. In the future we have to do this, to verify for ourselves that this is accurate.”
One important issue though, the VP outlined, is how government will obtain the data.
He explained that proposals have already been received for remote transmission which would entail placing sensors and cameras etc. on the rigs which connect to the data center at the Natural Resource Ministry.
Further on, he stated that government may consider recruiting an industry specialist to process the data, or opt to train officials at the Ministry to do same.
“Right now, we rely on Exxon for all the data submitted and we can’t do that,” the VP continued “So, whatever form it takes in the Ministry, whether a data center or one specialist processing this, we have not made a final determination. That’s down the road, once we get the data, we move forward on how we get the data.”
Kaieteur News would have highlighted the importance of real-time monitoring of oil production while referencing examples of countries around the world that ensure such systems are in place to protect the people’s patrimony.
One country which this newspaper has showcased in this regard is the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
The custodian of the Kingdom’s petroleum is the National Oil Company (NOC) of Saudi Arabia, Saudi Aramco.
In a 2008 CBS: 60 Minutes documentary, Journalist Lesley Stahl was given a tour of Saudi Aramco’s command centre by its former Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Abdullah Juma’ah. He described it as the nerve centre of the company’s operations; a room with a 220-ft digital screen, where engineers scrutinize and analyze every aspect of the company’s operations.
“Every facility in the Kingdom, every drop of oil that comes from the ground is monitored in real-time in this room, and we have control of each and every facility, each and every pipeline, each and every valve in the pipeline. And therefore, we know exactly what is happening in the system from A to Z,” Juma’ah explains.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has also said on several occasions that Guyana should invest in the latest technology that would record accurate measurements of the quantity being extracted and exported by ExxonMobil and its partners to ensure proper reconciliation of readings submitted by the oil companies versus what the State has recorded.
Work has already commenced in this regard with the fiber optic cable which will allow Guyana to monitor Exxon’s operations offshore expected to be laid by the third quarter of 2021.
This is according to the project summary by ExxonMobil’s subsidiary, Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Limited (EEPGL) on the EPA’s website. No cost is mentioned in the document.
The company’s intended high-speed fiber optic/wireless transport service will connect its onshore and offshore facilities. The Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) is expected to make use of this facility to monitor Exxon’s offshore operations. The tax agency had said in 2019 that it would have a CCTV system set up, following the installation of a fiber optic cable.
This will allow the authority to see what is happening at the operation 24/7.
Following the installation of the connection to the Liza Phase One operation, Exxon intends to connect to the Liza Phase Two operation in 2022 when the project is slated to come on stream. It also intends to connect to the Payara area in 2023.
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