Apr 15, 2021 News
Kaieteur News – The design flaws, which have plagued the Liza Destiny’s gas compressor system, make it an unacceptable danger to not only Guyana but the Caribbean as well. It is therefore required of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to fulfill its role as an effective regulator and shut down the operations now. Making these and other statements is International lawyer, Melinda Janki.
Her invited comments come on the heels of ExxonMobil Guyana’s latest announcement that the gas compressor system encountered another design flaw even though it received “repairs and upgrades” in February. This new mechanical problem led the company to cut the daily production of 120, 000 barrels of oil per day (bpd) by 90,000 bpd. The American oil giant also disclosed that it has been forced to flare gas, four to five times above pilot level, which hovers around one million cubic feet of gas or less.
Taking this into consideration, Janki said it is clear that ExxonMobil’s operations in the Stabroek Block are unsafe. She urged Guyanese not to take the design woes lightly since Exxon itself has come forward to admit that the equipment is faulty. She warned that offshore deep water drilling is an extremely dangerous activity while adding that the smallest design flaw could lead to the devastation of the marine environment.
The international lawyer said, “Equipment failure can lead to a deep water well blowout like BP’s Macondo, which devastated the Gulf of Mexico, killed 11 people and caused damage totalling US$68billion. Guyana and our Caribbean neighbours cannot afford the catastrophic consequences of a well blowout or an oil spill. The Environmental Protection Agency must therefore shut down Exxon’s operations now before it is too late. There is no margin for error.”
In its statement to the media on the latest mishap, ExxonMobil noted that the new issue pertains to the discharge silencer for the gas compressor. The US oil king said this was detected during the final testing phase of the gas compressor system. That final run was supposed to be completed this week.
ExxonMobil said that a team from SBM Offshore (the manufacturer of the Liza Destiny), MAN Energy Solutions (the company that did the upgrades and repairs) and ExxonMobil are on site to assess repairs, with support from engineering experts in Europe and the USA. “This performance is below ExxonMobil’s global expectations for reliability,” the company said too.
Since start up in December 2019, Kaieteur News would have diligently followed and reported on ExxonMobil’s continually malfunctioning gas compressor system. On December 20, 2020 it had announced that the gas compressor issue was fixed. But during that one year period, it had already flared 12.4 billion cubic feet of gas per day, equivalent to the removal of 1.6M acres of forest. In simpler terms, this means that Exxon flared toxic Natural gas that could have been offset by a forest the size of Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam). (https://www.kaieteurnewsonline.com/2020/12/22/exxons-flaring-this-year-equivalent-to-the-removal-of-1-6m-acres-of-forest/).
But the issues didn’t stop there as the system malfunctioned for a second time on January 13, 2021. The company did not reveal the cause but said that it was fixed within a matter of hours, or so it thought. (https://www.kaieteurnewsonline.com/2021/03/07/exxonmobil-had-flared-early-january-claims-it-lasted-less-than-hours/).
On January 29, 2021, the gas compressor broke down for a third time, forcing ExxonMobil this time around to send the faulty equipment to Germany for repairs and upgrades. A detailed assessment of the compressor subsequently revealed that an axial vibration of the compressor rotor is what led to other mechanical disruptions. The equipment was back in Guyana by the second week of March where it was installed on the Liza Destiny vessel. Tests up to this week were being carried out. (https://www.kaieteurnewsonline.com/2021/03/14/exxons-repaired-compressor-back-in-guyana/).
But before that could be completed, the gas compressor which was supposedly repaired and upgraded, malfunctioned for the fourth time.
ExxonMobil has said that an order was made for a new compressor which is due to arrive by year end.
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