Jul 14, 2022 News
Kaieteur News – As Guyana picks up the pace to transition from the use of Heavy Fuel Oil (HFO) to natural gas for electricity generation, a University of the West Indies Lecturer, Dr. Lorraine Sobers has cautioned that the country keep a watchful eye on its Carbon Dioxide (CO2) emissions- a harmful greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change- per capita, pointing out that the use of this transitional alternative does not eliminate emissions, but merely reduces it.
Sobers on Wednesday appeared on a Guyana Business Journal and Magazine panel that discussed Guyana’s right to develop oil and gas. Weighing in on this specific subject, Sobers a citizen of Trinidad and Tobago offered advice from her country’s own experience, noting that although the country transitioned to the use of natural gas, it remained among the top 10 highest CO2 emitters per capita. This term measures emissions per person in a state. It is calculated by dividing a country’s total emissions by the average population.
She explained: “On one hand we have climate change and on the other hand we have activities that contribute to that and on the third hand, if we had three hands would be the action that Guyana is already taken or has taken to limit and mitigate that… one of its pride and joy of course is the standing forest conservation policy and very few countries in oil and gas can show that they have an overall negative sink.”
Cognizant of Guyana’s vast standing forests, the UWI Lecturer pointed out that the country has opportunities to take this further by tracking its CO2 emissions per capita. Urging that the emissions of the country be kept in sight for Guyana to achieve its climate change objectives, Sobers shared, “What has gone on in Trinidad and Tobago’s side is that we have switched in the 1960’s or 1970s progressively to using natural gas for electricity generation so that’s all well indeed but there is carbon dioxide emissions that comes from that and then we have the downstream development…now at the time when Trinidad and Tobago switched from fuel oil to gas that was a big bold move investing in the 56 inch pipeline across country… and it reduced the emissions of this country, however now we are consistently (among) the top 10 of CO2 emissions per capita.”
She was keen to point out that Guyana also has a small population which could position the country as a large CO2 emitter per capita as well. However, while she applauded the country for its large percentage of standing forests and low rate of deforestation, Sobers added that Guyana has been looking to sell its carbon credits which therefore means it cannot be counted against its current production of oil and gas.
“Another thing that Guyana is doing that is good, is establishing a carbon registry and looking once again to earn revenue from that standing forest and that would have to be accounted one time, so basically if they have sold those credits or intend to sell those credits to another country or another producer, well then it can’t be counted against the production that they have, so that’s another balance that is needed,” the Lecturer noted.
Guyana, a two year old producer has embarked on a plan to transition its electricity generation from HFO in order to lower the country’s emissions and achieve global targets to limit a rapidly warming globe.
But with hydroelectricity placed on the back burner, at least for now, according to the country’s Vice President, Bharrat Jagdeo, plans are taking shape for the startup of its Gas to Energy project, which will generate 300 Megawatts of power. At the same time, the oil operator, ExxonMobil has been rapidly flaring associated gas in the Stabroek Block, blaming its faulty equipment.
Importantly, the country’s regulator body, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been accused of giving Exxon “free reins” as the company is allowed to flare, as long as it pays a fine of US$50 per tonne of carbon dioxide emitted.
Oil production is likely to reach one million barrels per day 2025, and with production targets coming on stream sooner than expected, this objective is expected to be achieved.
Back in March, Kaieteur News reported that ExxonMobil and its partners, Hess Corporation and CNOOC, are gearing to ramp up oil production at the Stabroek Block’s Liza Field as the Russia-Ukraine crisis continues to drive more supply shocks in the global oil market.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Hess Corporation, John Hess noted at the 50th Annual Scotia Howard Weil Energy Conference that the Liza Destiny, Guyana’s first floating, production, storage and offloading vessel (FPSO) is up for a planned turn around. He said this includes production optimization. Previously, Hess’ Chief Operating Officer, Greg Hill had disclosed that such works could increase the Liza Destiny’s operating capacity to the range of 140,000 barrels to 150,000 barrels of oil per day. The vessel was operating at nameplate capacity which totals 120,000 barrels of oil per day.
As for the Liza Unity, Guyana’s second FPSO which began pumping oil in February is also poised to be optimized so that it can achieve nameplate capacity of 220,000 barrels of oil per day.
According to Hess, the third ship Payara was supposed to come on-stream at 220,000 BOD, in 2024 but that has since been moved up to the fourth quarter of 2023.
A fourth project, Yellowtail, with a production capacity of approximately 250,000 gross barrels of oil per day and startup expected in 2025 was also approved. The CEO said his company continues to see potential for at least six FPSOs with a production capacity of more than 1 million gross barrels of oil per day at the Stabroek Block in 2027, with the potential for up to 10 FPSOs to develop the gross discovered recoverable resources currently estimated at more than 10 billion barrels of oil equivalent.
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