Mar 09, 2021 News
Kaieteur News – Following admissions by ExxonMobil and Government that there is no cap of 14 billion cubic feet on flaring at the Liza Phase One operation, former Executive Director of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Dr. Vincent Adams, said that a critical question to be answered is why Government was so obstinate in presenting false information to the public.
It was the Vice President, Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo, who first uttered the figure during a press conference on February 9 when discussing flaring. He claimed that the final environmental impact assessment (EIA) included the figure as a quota for flaring.“Most people didn’t understand Exxon submitted an Environmental Impact Assessment for the project,” he had said. “The document was, from what I gathered, made public by the EPA that the EIA, which was approved by the EPA at that time and referred to by the Minister in the licence, Exxon was given an allowance to flare or to use 14 billion cubic feet of gas 14 billion!”
No one could point out where in the EIA the figure was stated.Another newspaper had pressed Minister of Natural Resources, Vickram Bharrat. Eventually, his public relations officer, Stephon Gabriel, admitted that no such allowance was permitted.ExxonMobil last Thursday also admitted during a press conference that there is no allowance of 14 billion cubic feet of gas to flare. Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Limited (EEPGL) President, Alistair Routledge, said that a third party came up with the figure during the phase of studies for the Liza Phase One EIA, but that it was not an allowance, merely an estimation of a volume of gas which could be flared in the first 18 months under a certain scenario.
“Well, it became apparent last Thursday at Exxon’s update to the press,” Dr. Adams said, “th
at Exxon could no longer sustain the pressure to do the impossible of showing the existence of something that didn’t exist, so they threw the Government under the bus when they distanced themselves from ever saying or even implying that such an allowance existed.”
“Consequently, the Government had no other choice but to admit to the press on Saturday, that the allowance does not exist,” he said, referring to Gabriel’s comment on the Natural Resources Ministry’s behalf.
He said they had maintained that the allowance existed.
“Henceforth, we all now know that I was right and they were wrong all along,” Dr. Adams said, “but it begs the serious question as to how could this have been possible with the Government to be so obstinately sticking to its guns in communicating such false information to its citizens on such a sensitive, important, and high profile matter.”
The energy expert said he refuses to believe the government could be so irresponsible to be making things up.
“So then, it also begs the important question, if this type of information is not coming from Exxon, where is it coming from and who is really advising the Government to inform its decision-making on these critical and sensitive issues?”
At this point, Dr. Adams is of the view that as there is no allowance or cap for flaring, there should be nothing standing in the way of government instituting penalties, as the Vice President had claimed with reference to the false cap, that the government was “hamstrung in instituting penalties”.
Dr. Jagdeo had said on February 9 that he has instructed the EPA to explore options to penalize ExxonMobil for its flaring.
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