Dec 01, 2021 News
…claims Guyana’s forest will offset environmental impacts
Kaieteur News – The Non-Technical Summary (NTS) for ExxonMobil’s fourth project, the Yellowtail development, has revealed that greenhouse gases are set to increase by as much as 30 percent, throughout the production stage.
According to the document, “Average emissions during production (is) estimated (to) range (between) 1,110 to 1,395 kilotonnes of carbon dioxide-equivalent per year, (resulting in) approximately 24 to 30 percent increase in Guyana’s estimated GHG (Green House Gas) emissions”.
Simply put, greenhouse gases are harmful emissions such as carbon dioxide that trap the earth’s heat and contribute to global warming or the warming of the planet.
Even though Guyana would be significantly contributing to this phenomenon, the responsible party [Exxon] has categorically stated that these emissions will not be a problem, since the country’s forest will offset the environmental impacts.
In the same breath highlighting the increase in GHGs due to the Yellowtail development, Exxon said, “Guyana’s forestry resources remove over 10 times more GHGs each year than Guyana is estimated to emit”.
As a consequence, it was noted that no mitigation measures would be required.
“Based on the negligible significance of potential air quality, no additional mitigation measures are considered warranted. However, a number of embedded controls and mitigation measure technologies incorporated into the Project will aid in reducing emissions of pollutants into the atmosphere,” the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the Yellowtail development pointed out.
Meanwhile, the EIA explained that emissions generated by the project will generally emanate from two source categories.
These include, “Specific point sources, such as the power-generating units and diesel engines on drill ships and on the Floating, Production, Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessels, non-routine flaring used to combust associated gas when not consumed as fuel gas on the FPSO or injected back into the reservoir, and low-level routine flaring (pilot/purge gas) for safe operation of the flare as well as small streams that cannot practically be recovered by vapor recovery; and (2) general area sources, such as marine support vessels, installation vessels, and helicopters,” the document outlined.
Additionally, it was noted that emissions of air quality pollutants from the Project have been estimated, based on a number of factors, including activity levels, fuel types, equipment capacities, and standard emission factors.
The Yellowtail development is estimated to have a 20-year life cycle and initial production is expected to begin by the end of 2025–early 2026.
Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Limited (EEPGL), ExxonMobil’s subsidiary will be pursuing the project. EEPGL said the Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessel will be designed to produce up to 250,000 barrels of oil per day.
Earlier this month, Head of State, Dr. Irfaan Ali attended the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of Parties (COP26) where he made a commitment to reduce the country’s carbon emissions by 70 per cent by 2030.
The President told the Summit, “My country, Guyana, is already playing its part in addressing climate change and will continue to do so. We will maintain our forests, which is almost the size of England and Scotland combined, storing 20 gigatonnes of carbon as a global asset. We will work with local communities on conserving, protecting and sustainably managing our forests, biodiversity and freshwater supplies. We will decouple economic growth and emissions through a progressively cleaner energy mix with the aim of reducing our carbon emissions by 70 per cent by 2030”.
Nonetheless, Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Limited (EEPGL), is gearing up to burn 120 million standard cubic feet of gas per day for three months (90 days) during the start up of the Yellowtail Project.
The ExxonMobil subsidiary made this disclosure in the project’s Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). The document for the fourth Stabroek Block development project specifically states, “…start-up flaring for the Project will be temporary and may require flaring for 90 cumulative days at the rate of 120 million standard cubic feet per day (MMscfd).” It was keen to note that this is just a “conservative assumption.”
The former Executive Director of the Environmental Protection Agency, Dr. Vincent Adams has already warned of the dangers associated with the flaring of natural gas.
In a recent interview with this newspaper, he explained that over 200 pollutants are released in the process.
“When it goes up, it has to come down, so besides Global warming and climate change and all of that type of stuff, it has things like nitrogen dioxide and sulphur dioxide, and when those mix with the moisture from the atmosphere it forms an acid, and so that is called acid rain,” the former EPA head pointed out.
He was keen to note that when the acidic water falls, it enters the ocean and affects fish, farming and the entire ecology.
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