Dec 11, 2021 News
…says Exxon, CGX did not report any spills
Kaieteur News – Minister of Natural Resources, Vickram Bharrat is confident that the ‘oily substance’ floating on the surface of the Atlantic Ocean is not from an oil spill, even though the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has not even collected samples to run an analysis.
Speaking with reporters on the sidelines of an event on Thursday evening, the Minister reasoned that the substance could not have been oil, since its operators, ExxonMobil-in the Stabroek Block-and CGX Energy Inc-operating in the Corentyne Block, have “no such” reports.
Furthermore, he noted that the substance is suspected to have leaked from a vessel.
According to the Minister, “I think we know that offshore we do not produce, or you do not extract gasoline or diesel offshore, you extract crude so what we would have seen is maybe diesel or gasoline that was probably deposited or leaked from transporting cargo, a fishing vessel”.
Fishermen were the first to report the incident, and even though a source at the Civil Defence Commission (CDC) had related that the matter was being probed by the National Oil Spill Committee, no information on the substance has been forthcoming.
In fact, the Executive Director of the EPA, Kemraj Parsram related to this paper that the agency also is not in receipt of any samples.
He, however, pointed out that Skytruth assisted by examining satellite imagery for the areas near a current drilling activity, and general areas 45 nanometers offshore Guyana but “they were unable to turn up any image of oil spill event for the period November 30 to December 4, 2021”.
SkyTruth uses satellite imagery to study and document environmental impacts on earth, according to the company’s website.
A local fisherman, who had brought the issue to the attention of Kaieteur News told this newspaper yesterday that the EPA had promised to contact him for information with regard to the substance, but never made efforts to visit the site.
According to him, on the day the substance was sighted, he had observed a ship offloading fluid into the ocean.
“It get some ship been a pump out some water from it and when they pump it out, this is wah been a float and this is what I telling these people let them go and check, but they nah want fuh see wah is the cause,” he said.
The fisherman complained that the offshore operations have been severely impacting his livelihood.
He said, “Me expense right now a $1.6 million and when you go out deh you nah get no wuk. All the wuk man them you can’t even pay…me can’t make back me money and right now me broken. Me invest me money and make me boat two years now and me can’t make back the money wah me work for 25 years”.
Last Friday, fishermen operating in the Atlantic Ocean offshore Guyana told Kaieteur News of the growing concerns over what they describe as an oily film floating at different points of the water.
The substance has been leading many in the fishing industry to believe that the oil companies might be covering up a possible oil spill.
According to reports received by this publication from a number of fisher folks operating from Essequibo to Berbice, the oil floating in the water could possibly be the cause for the decline in their fish catch.
According to the reports, the black oily substance could be seen close to the coast in the vicinity of the Anna Regina koker in Region Two.
This publication also spoke with some fishermen from the Berbice area, who reported sightings similar to those reports emanating from the Essequibo Coast.
This newspaper has since been provided with a number of video footage captured by different individuals from various points in Guyana’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), where the fishermen would ply their trade.
The videos depict a dark, sometimes foamy film floating on the ocean surface. In a number of the videos, sailors could be overheard shouting, words to the effect of “oil, this is oil; this got to be from an oil spill.”
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