Oct 05, 2022 News
Oil and Gas Producers Association Head tells Guyana Basins Summit 2022
…Guyana must protect itself, Region
By Davina Bagot
Kaieteur News – Recent events have highlighted the high risk involved in oil and gas production, but to ensure a sustainable world for generations to come, petroleum companies have been urged to step up their game when it comes to safeguarding the environment.
Delivering this charge was Executive Director of the International Association of Oil and Gas Producers (IOGP), Iman Hill – the keynote speaker at the Guyana Basins Summit (GBS) that opened on Tuesday at the Pegasus Suites and Corporate Centre, in Georgetown.
The GBS is a three-day event aimed at uniting key stakeholders in the energy sector to forge business collaborations. Both local companies and international firms are attending the event which is being hosted by the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) with the aim of exploring new areas of investment in the country.
IOGP is the industry body that represents the global oil and gas industry. The organisation has more than 2000 experts from over 80 member organisations, inclusive of 25 national oil companies, to help ensure safe, efficient and sustainable energy supply and more importantly, to enable a low carbon future.
Hill during her presentation alluded to the three pillars of building a sustainable oil and gas industry when she pointed to the important role of the energy sector in maintaining a safe environment.
In a specific address to the oil companies in the auditorium she said, “In this industry, you have an obligation to bring considerable know how, skills, innovation, technology and investment power to create a sustainable world that we want to see for our children and their children and if everyone pulls together, if we all play our part including the oil and gas producers then I believe we can find the right path and then there will be a very successful industry here.”
In highlighting the importance of safe operations, she pointed out that when things “go wrong” in the “high risk industry” in which they operate lives can be lost and families devastated.
To this end, she urged, “It’s vital to have technical capability to run an offshore operation but without a no-tolerance culture to unsafe practices your industry here would not be successful. We all saw what happened with Macondo. The technical, financial and reputational fallout almost put one of the biggest companies in the world out of business; over a decade later, they are still paying the price.”
In Guyana’s case, Hill explained to delegates that the country’s proximity to Suriname means that safety and mutual agreements on safety will be crucial in further petroleum activities. Moreover, she said that, “any oil spill will directly affect Guyana – the land of many waters – and this reinforces the importance of investing in strong partnerships and collaboration between the region…”
While the Executive acknowledged the challenges involved with developing oil and gas industries that enable economic growth in a sustainable manner, she pointed out that this can be done through Region and global collaboration. Hill pointed out that although Guyana and Suriname are neighbours, the two allies currently have no cross border agreements in place to build resilient ecosystems for instance. She believes that the Heads of States should collaborate to strengthen these systems.
Even as the International Association of Oil and Gas Producers gave this charge, Guyana is yet to put systems in place to ensure it adequately protects itself and the Caribbean from an oil spill. Various models presented in ExxonMobil’s Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) for projects that have so far been approved have underlined the impacts such a disaster can have on Caribbean countries.
While this is so, Guyana only has a US$600 million insurance policy in place per oil spill disaster, while Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo has assured that Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Limited (EEPGL) – the local subsidiary of Exxon – has over US$6 billion in assets that can be used to financially cover a spill.
The permits that have been granted to the operator, however, outline that a parent company guarantee should be provided to cover any liabilities above this cost. Government on the other hand is merely negotiating with the companies for a US$2 billion guarantee. Meanwhile, a group of private citizens has moved to the court for proof of the parent company’s guarantee to be published.
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