May 09, 2022 News
– says engagements will proceed as planned
Kaieteur News – United States oil major, ExxonMobil has said it will be proceeding with its planned consultations on the Wales Gas to Energy pipeline project, even though one Attorney and activist has called for the sessions to be postponed until after the 60 days public review period has ended.
The activist, Ms. Elizabeth Hughes on Thursday penned a letter to the Exxonmobil Guyana President, Alistair Routledge as well as the Head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) where she argued that the consultations are nothing but a distraction.
Hughes acknowledged the importance of stakeholder consultations, especially for such a massive venture but outlined that it is equally important for the public review period be honoured as citizens have just a limited time to read through the ‘voluminous document’ to share their concerns.
The Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) submitted by Exxon’s consultant, Environmental Resources Management (ERM) is more than 1400 pages.
In fact, she said, “It is our “human right” to do so peacefully without the noise of a campaign that contributes neither to the procedure nor the process of: The spirit of the law, EPA, in mandating 60 days for concerns to be filed, Implementing your own self-governance as stated in the company’s CSR to responsibly manage impact on communities.”
She further noted that the public must be afforded ‘noise free’ time from the oil company to gain a full understanding of the gas to energy Project to be able to meaningfully be engaged at the appropriate time.
Yesterday, the oil company’s Public Relations Officer, Ms. Janelle Persaud related that the disclosure meetings for the Gas-to-Energy project are intended to complement the comment process. She explained that the meetings will so by “…providing a format for the consultants to present the findings of the Environmental Impact Assessment to community members in an impartial, non-technical way. These meetings create an additional opportunity for individuals who would have otherwise been unable to review the document, which is available on the EPA website and at regional offices, to learn about the EIA directly from the consultants and provide further feedback and concerns as necessary.”
In this regard, the ExxonMobil representative noted that the consultations will proceed as planned. She was keen to note that the EIA remains available and the 60 day period continues unabated for the public to review and submit their comments to the EPA directly. Additionally, the PRO said the oil company was in the process of responding to Ms. Hughes concerns. On Sunday, Hughes said she did not hear from the EPA or ExxonMobil.
In her letters to the organizations, she also flagged the company for failing to consult with residents of Canal Number One in Region Three, where the project will be constructed. Hughes argued, “Kindly note that none of the stakeholders in the immediate vicinity of the proposed pipeline route through Canal #1 were ever consulted. How could the EIS document make it thus far when its preparation is lacking in the engagement needed to assess the impacts landowners and residents in the direct vicinity will suffer referred to as “primary stakeholders” in the “Stakeholder Engagement Strategy”? This is a failure in the implementation of your own self-created “Stakeholder Engagement Plan for Guyana”.”
She lauded the company for its educational campaigns but said it was unnecessary at this point of the process. As such Hughes reasoned, “As this is not a competitive process postponing the time would neither add nor take away from your position of attainment. Further, this round of proposed meetings & consultations does not affect the outcome of the EPA’s decision only causes needless distractions. We would appreciate this quietude from you on public consultation about ‘gas-to-energy project, the EPA’s authorization process and assessment findings” until after the expiration of the 60 days period. This would create the environment to help us ensure that we are setting the stage for the future generations of Guyanese with clarity and mutual respect.”
The Gas-to-Energy project is being pursued by Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Limited (EEPGL), on behalf of itself and its coventurers (Hess Guyana Exploration Limited and CNOOC Petroleum Guyana Limited). It proposes to bring the associated natural gas, produced from the Liza field in the Stabroek Block, to shore for use.
The Government of Guyana is pursuing a separate project to construct a power plant that would use a portion of this associated natural gas as a fuel source. Accordingly, EEPGL, at the request of the Government, is proposing the Project to provide fuel for the Power Plant.
Project will involve capturing associated gas produced from crude oil production operations on the Liza Phase 1 (Destiny) and Liza Phase 2 (Unity) Floating, Production, Storage, and Offloading (FPSO) vessels, transporting approximately 50 million standard cubic feet per day (MMscfd; 1.4 million standard cubic meters per day [MMsm3/d]) of rich gas via a subsea pipeline and then an onshore pipeline to a NGL processing plant, treating the gas to remove NGLs for sale to third parties, and ultimately delivering dry gas meeting government specifications for use at the Power Plant.
Construction will begin after the company receives all necessary authorizations, with a target date of August 2022 for start of NGL Plant site preparation, and will take approximately three years. The combined offshore and onshore pipeline system is targeted to be ready to deliver rich gas by end of 2024, and the NGL Plant is targeted to be operational by mid-2025. The Project has a planned life cycle of at least 25 years.
The aspect of the project for which the oil company is responsible, that is to say, the installation of the offshore and onshore pipelines, is set to cost a whopping US$1.3B.
ExxonMobil has 11 planned consultations to hear from the public. The meetings will take place in Regions One, Three, Four, Five and Six. Today, the company will host its first community meeting in Region Five at the Latchman Singh Primary School, West Coast Berbice, commencing at 10:00hrs. In Region Six, the first meeting will take place on Tuesday at the #66 Fishport Complex, Corentyne Berbice. In Region Four, one of the consultations will take place at the Umana Yana on May 11 at 16:00hrs. One meeting will be hosted in Region Two at the Townhall, Anna Regina from 09:00hrs on May 12. Meanwhile, three meetings are expected to be held in Region Three, with the first slated for May 13 at the Leonora Technical Institute, West Coast Demerara from 15:00hrs.
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