Mar 05, 2021 News
– 14 billion figure in EIA, an assumption not limit
By Shikema Dey
Kaieteur News – ExxonMobil’s Guyana President, Alistair Routledge, yesterday made it clear that the oil company does not have a 14 billion ‘flaring cap’ for its Liza Phase One project as was reported in the past weeks.
That figure was first revealed by the Vice President, Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo, at his February 9 press briefing. There, while addressing concerns regarding Exxon’s recent bout of flaring, the VP claimed that the company was given an allowance to flare 14 billion cubic feet of natural gas at its Liza Phase One project.
That allowance, he had noted as well, was granted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and was outlined in the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for Liza Phase One. Jagdeo’s claims were immediately questioned however; as the Former Director of the EPA, Dr. Vincent Adams, retorted that no such provision was ever outlined in the EIA.
Checks done by Kaieteur News also revealed no such provision. The agency where the figure was said to have emerged from, being the EPA, which is now led by Sharifa Razack, was also asked to provide some amount of clarity to the claims. To date, Kaieteur News still awaits answers.
Routledge yesterday during a press briefing clarified that the figure was merely an “assumption” and not a fixed flaring “limit.”
“It was never meant to be either a limit or an allowance and we do not view it as that,” he told the press.
Routledge detailed that while the number is in fact included in the Liza Phase One EIA, it was merely a preemptive figure for the amount of gas to be flared 18 months into startup at the Liza Phase One project.
He explained further, that “[The] assumption was for the first 18 months after start up and normally, when we have an operation like this which will operate for 30, maybe longer years, the most intense period of flaring would be in the first 12-18 months. As we have seen, when you go through the commissioning, you find something that needs to be adjusted or sometimes very unusually, sometimes you have these more persistent issues that are more complex and difficult to resolve.”
“That is why the EIA contemplates this first as the most challenging and makes an assumption about the cumulative volume from an environmental impact perspective,” Routledge added.
He disclosed to that the company has flared close to 13 billion cubic feet of natural gas at the Liza Phase One project since start up back in December 2019.
But that figure presented more questions than answers. Dr. Vincent Adams had explained to Kaieteur News that if the oil company had stuck to pilot flaring throughout operations, it would only account for one billion cubic feet of gas flared. To amass such a figure, ExxonMobil would have had to been flaring during normal operations from day one.
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