May 14, 2022 News
– Cites lack of due process, fundamental legal breaches
Kaieteur News – Attorney Elizabeth Hughes, a resident of Canal Number One, West Bank Demerara who will be directly impacted by the proposed Wales Gas-to-Energy project has urged that the entire Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process be redone, owing to a lack of due process and what she deemed “fundamental breaches” to the laws of Guyana.
ExxonMobil’s subsidiary, Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Limited (EEPGL) will be pursuing an aspect of the project and is currently conducting a series of consultations with the public on the project.
On Wednesday, one such meeting was hosted at the Umana Yana, in Kingston Georgetown where the resident made her concerns known to the Consultant, Environmental Resources Management (ERM) which was charged with preparing the EIA document on behalf of the developer.
During the question and answer segment, Hughes told the panel, “My concern is really with the lack of due process and procedure. There are fundamental breaches of adherence to the instruments that govern this country and also to the gunning principles but these can be fixed quite easily.”
She went on to state her suggestions; “What we can do is recall the EIA and fix the fact that, I am assuming that we (residents in the Area of Influence) are primary stakeholders, the people who live next to the pipeline so recall it and have meetings with us because we are in the Area of Influence (AOI)…but yet we were never engaged.”
The resident reasoned that while it is established that the Consultant has conducted meetings, these were never done with those who are expected to be impacted, but rather State agencies.
She also requested that the address and signatures of the developer be attached to the EIA document. In addition Hughes pointed out that there was no gas management plan which speaks to response mechanisms and other related activities in the event of such a disaster.
On the other hand, the Canal resident told ERM that she believes that there ought to be one EIA document for the entire Gas to Energy project. So far, the EIA study has only been submitted for the pipeline and Natural Gas Liquid (NGL) Plant to be developed by Exxon, while the Power Plant aspect, to be pursued by government, is yet to be published.
According to her, “As the pipeline cannot exist without the plant and we are talking about it kind of as one here, we need one EIA because there is a major loophole between two different EIAs in that junction where the two projects meet so I would like to know why we don’t have one EIA for the whole entire project.”
Given her listed points, the Attorney said, “This is really not a competitive process, you are the only players in the field so I think we can take our time and do a proper job and you can also incorporate all of these 11 things (public meetings) you are doing and retender the EIA and EIS (Environmental Impact Statement).”
In response to the Attorney, Todd Hall, the Guyana Program Lead for ERM explained that the Power plant is being pursued by another developer, hence a separate application has to be made to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) which will determine whether an EIA is necessary and inform the steps required.
Hall shared, “In this case, EEPGL applied as the proponent for the NGL Plant and of course the pipeline and a separate entity applied for the power plant, GPL (Guyana Power and Light) specifically. So its GPL remit, under the law of course to do whatever the EPA directs it to do with respect to environmental assessment in the process of acquiring a permit for the plant.
In the meantime, Hall told the resident that ERM has considered the likely impacts of the power plant and has included information in its cumulative impacts assessment chapter of the EIA. Her other comments, he said, were also taken note of.
The 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.
Construction will begin after the company receives all necessary authorisations, 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 the 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.
The proposed project facilities will be comprised of three primary components, including the onshore and offshore pipeline and the NGL plant.
The Offshore pipeline component involves approximately 220 kilometers of a subsea pipeline extending from new subsea tie-ins at the Destiny and Unity FPSOs to a proposed shore landing, located approximately 3.5 kilometers west of the mouth of the Demerara River.
The onshore pipeline, which is a continuation of the offshore pipeline, will extend linearly approximately 25 kilometers from the shore landing to a proposed NGL Plant. Meanwhile, the NGL Plant and associated infrastructure (e.g., heavy haul road, temporary Material Offloading Facility, and worker camp) will be located approximately 23 kilometers upstream from the mouth of the Demerara River on the west bank.
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