Sep 28, 2021 News
Kaieteur News – A company that services the oil industry was chased out of Houston by residents in 2019, when it tried to set up a chemical facility near their homes. Now, that company has changed its name and has set up an operation at McDoom.
The company, now called Champion X, was Nalco Champion back then.
Nalco had wanted to set up its chemical facility on land owned by John Fernandes Limited at Area ‘K’ Houston, and construction had started by the joint venture.
Houston residents kicked up a ruckus about the use of the land for industrial purposes when they observed that a structure was being built. They said they were given the impression that the land there would only be used for commercial purposes.
Additionally, no environmental impact assessment was done.
Following the uproar, a community consultation was held by the then Ministry of Communities at the Houston Secondary School.
During the consultation, a presentation was done by Nalco, with the hope of dispelling misconceptions about the proposed facility.
The company said that the facility would be a chemical storage and transfer facility, not a chemical processing facility, as some residents seemed to think. It was stressed that there would be no chemical reactions or blending, permanent storage tanks, buried chemical tanks, vapour clouds/steam, flaring, nor vent flumes.
The warehouse was intended to be used for the storage of products and equipment, repackaging and filtering of chemicals, office space, and transportation from the facility to a supply vessel to be taken offshore.
All the chemicals were to be brought from the company’s manufacturing plant in Sugar Land, Texas.
Despite this explanation, residents pressed on with concerns about the effect a chemical spill would have on the surrounding communities. The company, during its presentation, detailed its plan for the containment of spills and fires.
The company went to lengths to explain that its experiences with these kinds of plants left negligible risk, and that its considerations found the Houston location to be the most convenient. It was not enough.
Nalco Champion had to pull out of the area. It told the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), it would move its operations to Trinidad and Tobago.
ExxonMobil has been making an effort to move its supply work from Trinidad and Tobago to Guyana, in a bid to placate those who demanded more contracts and jobs be given to locals. The company’s Guyana President said recently that most of its supply work would be moved to Guyana by 2022.
Champion X’s McDoom facility was commemorated by a ceremony last Thursday in the compound. It was attended by Exxon’s production manager, Mike Ryan, as well as Prime Minister Mark Phillips and Finance Minister Dr. Ashni Singh.
Champion X’s country manager Keith Hicks, also the previous Nalco Champion’s country manager, gave the vote of thanks.
As had occurred in 2019 with the Houston facility, no EIA was done. The EPA said that it was not required.
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