Sep 12, 2021 News
Kaieteur News – The emission of dangerous toxic pollutants into the atmosphere as a result of flaring from the Liza Destiny Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) has long been cause for concern and public debate.
Little, however, is said about the dangerous air emissions to be had as a result of the extensive exploration drilling campaign such as the 12-wells planned for the Canje Block next year by Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Limited (EEPGL).
The company currently has an application for environmental authorisation with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that would have been accompanied by a project summary.
According to that document, the drilling activities offshore Guyana is expected to generate significant tonnage of emissions annually. That document submitted by EEPGL—ExxonMobil Guyana—outlines that the toxic gases to be emitted included NOx = oxides of nitrogen; CO = carbon monoxide; H2S = hydrogen sulfide; PM = particulate matter; SO2 = sulfur dioxide.
The term nitrogen oxides (NOx) describes a mixture of nitric oxide (NO) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2), which are gases produced from natural sources and other fuel burning processes.
Elevated levels of nitrogen dioxide can cause damage to the human respiratory tract and increase a person’s vulnerability to, and the severity of, respiratory infections and asthma.
Long-term exposure to high levels of nitrogen dioxide can cause chronic lung disease.
To this end, it was noted that as it relates to NOx, this would see 161 tons being emitted monthly from two drill ships, 11 tons from flaring and another 28 tons from the support vessels.
This works out to some 1,928 tons annually from the two drill ships, 128 tons annually from the support vessels and 338 tons annually.
Total annual emissions of NOx are expected to be some 2394 tons.
As it relates to the CO, the two drill ships are expected to emit some 33 tons monthly working out to about 402 tons annually.
Prolonged exposure to carbon monoxide can cause memory problems and difficulty concentrating. It can also cause vision loss and hearing loss. In rare cases, severe carbon monoxide poisoning can cause Parkinsonism, which is characterised by tremors, stiffness and slow movement.
As it relates to CO emissions from the flaring, according to EEPGL, this is projected at 58 tons monthly or some 696 tons annually.
The CO emission to be had from the use of support vessels is expected to be some six tons monthly or some 70 tons annually.
The total CO emission to be had from the drilling campaign is expected to be 1,169 tons.
Collectively the annual emissions of the other gases to be had as a result of the operations are expected to be cumulatively about 400 tons annually.
Additionally it was outlined in the project summary that the 112 well drill campaign is also expected to generate significant hazardous and non hazardous waste.
According to the document, as it relates to hazardous waste, this includes oily residue between 31 and 77.6 tons each month.
As it relates to non-hazardous waste, the company says it envisions this at between 46 and 100 tons each month, while sanitary and domestic waste see amounts of up to 4,500 tons each month.
According to ExxonMobil Guyana, the waste would be generated for the various categories based on the class of drill ships that would be used, anticipated number of support vessels and typical crew sizes normally used for deep water well drilling of this type and the planned duration of the drilling campaign.
An application for Environmental Authorisation is currently with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for ExxonMobil Guyana to spud a 12-well Exploration and Appraisal (E&A) drilling programme in the Canje Block, Offshore Guyana.
ExxonMobil last year said it has identified considerable undrilled potential of more than 50 leads in the Blocks it operates in Guyana’s offshore Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
The oil major has also announced plans to do more drilling in prospects targeted in the Kaieteur and Stabroek Blocks.
ExxonMobil currently operates offshore Guyana holding stakes in 11 million acres along with a number of partners making up the three consortia, which own the licences.
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