Aug 15, 2022 News
…as Guyana Govt. moves ahead with Wales gas-to-shore project
Kaieteur News – Despite natural gas pipelines and plants explosion being prevalent, the President Irfaan Ali-led PPP administration is adamant in rushing ahead with the US multi-billion dollar Wales Gas-To-Energy (GTE) project despite critical safeguards are yet to be put in place and citizens in the dark about its financial viability.
In just eight years, the United +States of America (USA) recorded 15 natural gas related explosions. Those explosions not only caused billions in damages but lives, homes and livelihood were lost.
For 2022, within four months there were four natural gas related explosions. There were explosions in Kansas, Oklahoma and two in Texas. In Oklahoma the explosion caused a fire to erupt at the natural gas facility which is described as a “natural gas liquids fractionation facility.” Fractionation is the process by which components of natural gas are generally turned into retail products such as ethane, propane, butane and natural gas for homes and vehicles – collectively these hydrocarbon configurations are known as natural gas liquids or Natural Gas Liquids (NGL).
In June and July, two natural gas projects exploded in Texas. The first occurred on June 8, last, when an NGL facility burst into flames, leaving residents rattled over the possible negative impacts they can be exposed to. No injuries were reported from this incident.
On July 7, an Energy Transfer natural gas pipeline exploded setting off a two-hour fire in the rural parts of Houston, Texas. It was reported that a release of natural gas from the 24-inch pipeline resulted in the explosion and fire. No injuries were recorded from this incident also.
In April 2022, a natural gas plant in Kansas exploded injuring two persons. Officials had to issue evacuation orders after a further inspection of the plant revealed 2,000 to 3,000 gallons of trapped liquid natural gas. In August 2019, the heat from a deadly natural gas pipeline explosion in Kentucky melted the siding of a home that was located 1,000 feet (335 meters) away. This was reported by federal investigators.
It was stated that a rupture of the 30-inch pipeline killed a woman and sent five others to the hospital. The explosion scorched the ground around the pipeline, destroyed five homes and burned for about 30 acres of land – the flame was also visible for at least 38 miles (61 kilometres) away.
In just 2015 to 2017, there were 12 deaths and 10 injuries reported from natural gas pipelines explosions in the US. Notably, the list does not include the many injuries, deaths, and extensive property damage reported from natural gas explosions reported at homes, apartment buildings, businesses, etc.
From June 2015 to June 2017, the following incidents have been documented:
February 17, 2017: A natural gas pipeline operated by Kinder Morgan in Refugio Texas exploded creating a massive fire. The explosion shook homes 60 miles away.
February 10, 2017: A natural gas pipeline operated by Phillips 66 Pipeline in St. Charles Parish, LA exploded, injuring 3 workers.
February 1, 2017: A pipeline in Panola County, Texas, exploded and created a crater in an airport runway, shutting down the airport for a month.
January 17, 2017: A natural gas pipeline operated by DCP Midstream exploded in Spearman, Texas, which led to multiple fire crews being called to the scene.
August 20, 2016: 10 people in New Mexico were killed when they were camping near an underground natural gas pipeline operated by El Paso Energy that suddenly exploded.
April 18, 2016: Two workers were killed when they struck a pipeline at the Southcross Gas Processing Plant in Bonnie View, Texas.
April 29, 2016: A 30-inch pipeline in Salem Township, operated by Spectra, exploded, severely injured a worker, and caused the evacuation of local businesses and homes.
January 9, 2016: A 30-inch pipeline operated by Atmos Energy in Robertson County, Texas, exploded and forced the evacuation of several families.
August 26, 2015: Two workers were injured when a Boardwalk/Gulf South Pipeline Co underwater pipeline off the coast of Louisiana ruptured and exploded.
June 27, 2015: Four workers were injured when a pipeline exploded at a gas booster station in White Deer Texas.
June 17, 2015: A pipeline operated by Energy Transfer Partners ruptured in Cuero, Texas and caused a massive blaze and the evacuation of 7 families. It was reported that 165,732 pounds of volatile organic compounds may have burned.
The incidents documented above represent a continuation of and ongoing trend of repeated natural gas pipeline and plant disasters in the US.
The reports of natural gas project explosions come at a time when President Ali is moving ahead with the much vaunted GTE project. This plant will be located at Wales, West Bank Demerara, and will be done in partnership with American oil giant, ExxonMobil. The 300 megawatt project will cost taxpayers’ more than US$1.3 billion just for the installment of pipelines to bring the gas to shore – while the government aspect of the project; the Natural Gas fired power plant and the NGL plant carries another cost.
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, located offshore and transport gas via a 12-inch subsea pipeline onshore passing through communities such as Crane and the Canal Polders up to Wales.
Importantly, while an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the project has already been submitted to the local authorising body, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – the document says that Guyana will not be immune to gas explosions at the site, listing the activity as a likely event.
Also, Exxon has not yet submitted a Gas Leak Management Plan to the EPA for considerations to be made in the permitting process, but it has promised to have the document ready about a year before the plant starts its operations at Wales.
In addition, the GTE Project Manager, Friedrich Krispin has indicated that Exxon and its partners will not walk away from any accidents, but will help Guyana should an unfortunate event take place at the proposed facility. However, he failed to provide answer on if a document would be signed specifically to secure insurance policy to cover any mishaps.
Significantly, ExxonMobil can reclaim all costs expended on this venture from Guyana’s oil revenue, in keeping with the 2016 Production Sharing Agreement (PSA). This means that Guyana will be paying for the project, even though the returns are not definitive.
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