Latest update June 3rd, 2023 12:59 AM
May 31, 2022 News
By Gary Eleazar
Kaieteur News – The Environmental Permit that was handed to Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Limited (EEPGL)—ExxonMobil Guyana—to develop and produce crude oil from the Liza 1 field in the Stabroek Block expires today but according to Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo, notwithstanding pleas to the contrary, the instrument would be renewed.
Jagdeo gave the confirmation yesterday during a press engagement venued at the Office of the President.
He told media operatives “there has been a lot of people internationally and locally who have been urging the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) not to renew the permit for the Stabroek Liza 1.”
To this end, the Vice President lamented that such a move would effectively shut down the production of oil and gas in the country, adding “that means we would lose all of this revenue and we would lose everything else.”
Additionally, Jagdeo also took aim presumably at Hollywood actor, Mark Ruffalo—the Hulk—saying, “I see some celebrities and everybody who live in their countries that are expanding oil and gas production now they want us to stop it here in Guyana; they don’t even have a voice to stop it in their country in fact they are expanding.”
He posited, however, many of them wittingly or unwittingly work for the lobbyists.
Jagdeo was adamant, the world needs the fossil fuel now, “that’s why the price is US$120 a barrel that’s why it’s going up.”
According to the Vice President, there is a scarcity all over for crude oil and “therefore they (developed oil producers) would reap all the windfall, the rich countries.”
He said, “They want to shut it down in Guyana (because) we are causing climate change; we are destroying the planet,” adding, that with each passing day, the green house gases (GHG) “that gets churned out of the developed world is tens of thousands time more than our total GHG in Guyana.”
As such, the Vice President was of the view, “they pick on Guyana because we are a small country.”
Encouraging the citizenry to “don’t waste your time on these people,” Jagdeo suggested that those speaking out against the project, “would have us suffer forever, including some who are flying around in private jets but they want us to stop producing.”
Having confirmed that the Permit will be renewed, the Vice President noted that there would be some changes but only spoke of an increased fine for flaring which was last earmarked at US$45 per every ton of natural gas flared above permissible levels.This past week international lawyer, Melinda Janki had again revisited the issuance of the Permit. Janki during a webinar had pronounced that the much vaunted oil bonanza in Guyana was only for the oil companies and not Guyana and that the country is presently on a path to disaster.
This, she said, was not just economically but environmentally and socially too. “The deal between government of Guyana and Exxon is one that is bad on every level,” she posited as she pointed out that under the present circumstances the oil operations represent, economically a disaster in the making.
Environmentally it’s already a disaster for Guyana, she posited and cited as example that already citizens are witnessing the disappearance of the fishing industry which has since also affected the livelihoods of the fisherfolk.
The international lawyer, who has already been successful in litigation filed against EEPGL told attendees of the forum that they have to be more proactive in filing action against the oil companies where infractions and wrong doings are seen.
Another international expert, who spoke out recently on the Liza 1 permit, Financial Analysis, Tom Sanzillo, suggested that for government to renew the permit without additional restrictions and fiscal reforms would simply be a case of government rubber stamping the demands of the oil company.
Martyna Dominiak of the Non-Profit Global Organisation Avaaz, which last week hosted the online engagement with members of the global media corps to speak on a global movement that has been gaining momentum with regards bringing about a better deal for the country or to halt the operations altogether is of the view, “this is a really bad deal for Guyana environmentally and financially, simply put, the people of Guyana may not see this money back.”
It was noted that the campaign was launched by Avaaz, “because it is very difficult for the people in Guyana to stand against Exxon alone, people are afraid of that and that’s why we want to support them with the power of our global movement.”
The Liza 1 is the first field to be developed by EEPGL in the Stabroek Block and saw first oil in December 2019. The Floating Production Storage and Offloading Vessel (FPSO)—the Liza Destiny—is fed by a 17-well field. It is the permit for this operation which comes up for renewal or refusal by the EPA next week, and, according to organisers, the people of Guyana may never see this money back, and as such, it is really important for Head of EPA, Kemraj Parsram to make the right decisions.
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