May 14, 2021 News
By Kiana Wilburg
Kaieteur News – The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced yesterday that it amended the Liza Phase One Permit to have ExxonMobil’s subsidiary, Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Limited (EEPGL), pay US$30 for every tonne of Carbon Dioxide equivalent (CO2e) – a term for describing different greenhouse gases in a common unit – burnt after yesterday, May 13, 2021.It is significant to note that ExxonMobil was projected to exceed flaring 14 billion standard cubic feet of gas by May 13, 2021 in its Liza Phase One Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). In light of this, the EPA said it engaged EEPGL to amend the Liza Phase One Permit.
Kaieteur News understands that EEPGL agreed to the changes which include: revised terms and conditions relating to emissions reporting requirements, technical considerations for flaring, timelines for flaring events and an obligation on the company to pay for the emission of Carbon Dioxide equivalent (CO2e) as a result of flaring in excess of these timelines. The modified Permit was signed between the two parties yesterday.
Extensive research conducted by Kaieteur News shows that gas flaring contributes to climate change, which has serious implications for the human security and wellbeing globally. In fact, the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria, outlined in one of its studies, that gas flaring is actually a major source of greenhouse gases, which accelerates global warming.
It was noted that flaring releases Carbon Dioxide and Methane, the two major greenhouse gases. Of these two, Methane is actually more harmful than Carbon Dioxide. It is also more prevalent in flares that burn at lower efficiency.
Of the greenhouse gases researched so far, Kaieteur News understands that the global warming potential of a kilogramme of Methane is estimated to be 21 times that of a kilogramme of Carbon Dioxide when the effects are considered.
The University of Ibadan study also noted that flaring contributes to local and regional environmental problems, such as acid rain with attendant impact on agriculture, forests and other physical infrastructure. The acid rain results in environmental degradation, which includes soil and water contamination and roof erosion.
Furthermore, there have been over 250 identified toxins released from flaring including carcinogens such as benzopyrene, benzene, carbon disulphide (CS2), carbonyl sulphide (COS) and toluene; metals such as mercury, arsenic and chromium; sour gas with Hydrogen Sulfide (H2S) and Sulfur Dioxide (SO2); Nitrogen oxides (NOx); Carbon dioxide (CO2); and methane (CH4) which contributes to the greenhouse gases.
GAS COMPRESSOR ISSUES
Since start up in December 2019, Kaieteur News would have 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 during installation 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. It was subsequently removed and is now in Houston, USA where it is being torn down and looked at, with the expectation that it will be restored within the next three months.
ExxonMobil has said that an order was made for a new compressor, which is due to arrive by year-end.
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