May 23, 2022 News
Kaieteur News – “How does it make sense that the highest hazardous risk is a leaking pipeline but it is not addressed in the EIA?” This, Former Head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Dr. Vincent Adams said, is a question that must be answered by the American oil major, ExxonMobil.
Dr. Adams, in an invited comment, was responding to a statement made by the Gas-to-Energy Project Manager, Friedrich Krispin, who told Kaieteur News at a recent consultation, that the document will develop and submitted to the EPA, about a year before the project commences.
The Gas-to-Energy project or the aspect that will be pursued by Exxon through its subsidiary, Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Limited (EEPGL) is expected to cost around US$1.3 billion. Importantly, this cost will only cover the onshore and offshore pipeline to be set up to transport gas to the Wales Industrial Site on the West Bank of Demerara from the Liza One and Two Fields in the Stabroek Block.
The Government of Guyana will be separately pursuing a Power Plant to generate electricity, which will utilise the gas brought to shore.
With both parties pushing full steam ahead with the project, even as the nation is still in the dark regarding the feasibility of the project, the developer has failed to include a Gas Leak Management Plan (GLMP), a document that should have been part of the oil company’s already submitted Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).
This is according to Dr. Adams, who first explained in detail the importance of an EIA.
“Remember what an EIA is; that’s the document that defines, it’s what I like to call the bible of any project. It defines all of the environmental risks and hazards. No other document does it in detail, so if a risk has not been identified and not only identified, it has to say in that EIA how you are gunna address that risk in terms of mitigative action or how you are gunna respond if something happens,” he shared.
To this end, the former Executive Director of the state-owned agency pointed out that if the EIA fails to address such a risk, it should be deemed incomplete. In the environmental study submitted by Exxon, through its Consultant, Environmental Resources Management (ERM), it was stated that gas leaks, and worse yet explosions are likely to occur as a result of corrosion, objects striking the pipeline, and a buildup of stress in the pipe wall, causing buckling. Even though this risk was identified, the Consultant did not see it fit to also attach a detailed response plan, accompanied by the various scenarios in which such an event can occur.
The former EPA Head has however argued that the sole purpose of the EIA is to identify risks and propose measures to address same. “That’s what an EIA does and if that risk, let’s say a leaking pipeline below the ocean is not addressed in the EIA, the EIA is incomplete because no risk has been identified there and how are you gunna address it. The gas leak management plan has to be inserted in the EIA,” he told Kaieteur News.
Dr. Adams stressed, “Anything that could potentially impact the environment, even if you are just thinking or it’s just a thought that it might occur, you’ve got to study it and say in the EIA okay it’s highly unlikely and this may never occur but you have to address and you have to study it in the EIA. It’s a hazard. A leaking gas line in the ocean is hazardous for many many reasons. First of all it’s toxic to fish, especially certain fish…they have to say well okay how are they gunna be monitoring that gas line to see when it’s leaking or not, and how are they gunna address it. All of that has to be analyzed and the only document that does that is an EIA.”
He was keen to note that this GLMP must also consider natural disasters which can potentially cause damages to the pipeline. “Are you looking at Earthquakes below the ocean? Volcanoes, are you looking at mud slides below the ocean in terms of damaging the pipeline? You have to look at that and then you got to cater for that to say the pipeline may rupture so how are you going to address that? You have to say if you are going to monitor that remotely, so you have to address that in the EIA.”
The former EPA boss told this publication that ExxonMobil must address this dangerous risk in the EIA. “You can’t say you are going to do it after the EIA is submitted. That is the reason for the EIA; you look at all of the risks up front before you move forward. You cannot say well now that I’m finished with the EIA I am going to be addressing a risk afterward in some document. That is absolute insanity! It’s nonsense,” he argued.
According to him, ExxonMobil is well aware that the company would not be permitted to submit a GLMP after an EIA is submitted especially in developed countries, such as the United States. “It is the most obvious thing that can occur (gas leak) in this project so I don’t understand why they believe they can get away with it,” Dr. Adams concluded.
An EIA for the project has already been submitted, however, the document does not state how gas leaks, a likely event listed, will be responded to, even though the Project Manager, Friedrich Krispin, has acknowledged that the company is required to present such a document around the world.
At a Consultation on the project, hosted May 13, even though Krispin acknowledged the importance of the document, the Project Manager addressed the news of the absent management plan by informing the residents present that the Stabroek Block partners, which will also be involved in the project, have not only been investing time into the venture to ensure such events are avoided but are also financially stable to respond.
In response to a follow up question by another concerned citizen, as to why the document was not included in the EIA, the Project Manager said it was not required, but will be submitted before the startup of operations.
“The reason why it’s not in the document is because a gas leak management system is a gas emergency response type process and procedure which is not part of an EIA. In the EIA we might say we are going to have one. It is part of operations and it will be developed before the operations get started…my guess would be about a year and a half before startup because you usually need about a year or a year and a half to train your employees and your operators…,” he explained.
However, Attorney-at-Law, Elizabeth Hughes, who was present during the meeting, questioned the logic behind the oil company’s reasoning, as she pointed out that the EIA includes an oil response plan in the event or an emergency, while the same diligence is not extended to a gas leak and other associated effects.
Jun 28, 2022The Guyana Badminton Association’s World Badminton Day Tournament came to a conclusion on Saturday, June 25, 2022. The Honourable Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports, Mr. Charles Ramson...
Jun 28, 2022
Jun 28, 2022
Jun 28, 2022
Jun 28, 2022
Jun 27, 2022
Kaieteur News – If Berbice has become a global tourist attraction but the Mayor of Berbice tells visitors not to come... more
Freedom of speech is our core value at Kaieteur News. If the letter/e-mail you sent was not published, and you believe that its contents were not libellous, let us know, please contact us by phone or email.
Feel free to send us your comments and/or criticisms.
Contact: 624-6456; 225-8452; 225-8458; 225-8463; 225-8465; 225-8473 or 225-8491.
Or by Email: [email protected] / [email protected]