Sep 02, 2022 News
By Kiana Wilburg
Kaieteur News – Field Development Plans (FDPs) are one of the most detailed documents oil companies must submit to governments when planning to extract oil or gas resources from a particular field. To ensure a proper interrogation of such a document, countries are expected to hire experienced specialists in varying fields to ensure the oil or gas development plan is in keeping with international best practices, and most importantly, are not overdesigned to allow for inflated costs.
Taking this into consideration, Trinidadian Energy Strategist, Anthony Paul, firmly asserts that it is ridiculous for any review of such documents to only take one to two months. If this occurs, he said it is evident that the State is not being presented with all the data it needs, and someone is not interested in doing a proper review.
During an appearance on Kaieteur Radio’s Programme, Guyana’s Oil and You, Paul explained what a field development plan entails.
He said, “Once you’ve discovered oil or gas in the ground in commercial quantities you have to get it out and that typically means drilling several wells. Those wells have different functions such as water injection, gas injection which manage pressure and of course you have the wells to extract the oil…and then you have to find a way, once it comes from under the ground, to make sure it enters a safe facility via various pipelines and subsea equipment …This facility can be in the form of a Floating, Production, Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessel.”Paul also noted that there are other facets to be understood during the evaluation of the FDP. He said the first element is to independently understand what is below the ground, the types of rocks, and how much oil and gas is trapped inside of that. Much of this pertains to the geosciences, geology, geophysics, astrophysics etc.
Once the specialists have mapped out what is there, Paul said this fuels a discussion about where the wells will be drilled to get most of the resource out of the ground. Paul said if these wells are not drilled in the right places or properly then some of the resource could be left behind. He said the Government would need to have the capacity to evaluate those wells so that the best plan could be had.
After evaluating how the wells would be developed, how it would be extracted and what vessel would be used, the FPD also has to be vetted for project management. This aspect speaks to the procurement, supply chain management and use of local content.
“So it is a really complex operation that is why when a company completes a review in 30 days or 60 days, I find that to be absolutely ridiculous; what should happen is that the regulator should be participating in the discussions from day one in terms of the geological mapping etc. So that means it would take some time to get that done…This is a complex process that Guyana really ought to take its time in understanding every aspect,” expressed Paul.
The expert further added that if a timeline for review is very short, it says clearly that a lot of information is not going to be presented and properly interrogated by evaluators.
“It tells me that evaluators will be going on the interpretations provided to them rather than evaluating raw data which take a longer time and gives you a different outcome,” the industry specialist stated.
While he did not offer what a right review timeframe should be, Paul said it is critical for Guyana to get a robust process in place for FDP reviews by State experts that are dedicated to that activity. At the end of the day, Paul said a watchful on such a key component makes a huge difference in ensuring cost savings as well as determining what comes out of the ground and what goes into the national purse.
The Energy Strategist also recommended that like Ghana, Norway, and many other territories, Guyana publishes its guidelines for what is expected in FDPs. He reasoned that this allows citizens to be more informed about what is required of companies, thereby improving transparency and accountability.It should be noted that Guyana has completed the review of Field Development Plans for ExxonMobil’s Payara and Yellowtail Projects within 42 and 52 days respectively. Though it has faced backlash for such short timelines, Government has maintained that it was able to secure the strongest and most comprehensive Environmental Authorizations and Petroleum Production Licences granted to Exxon and partners in the Stabroek Block.
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