Nov 06, 2022 Editorial
Kaieteur News – There is not stopping ExxonMobil in Guyana. The Government of Guyana is failing in almost every aspect of its heavy responsibilities to watch out for what is right and safe for all Guyanese. Instead of the leaders in the PPPC Government manifesting the necessary strength, courage, and wisdom, so that the interests of Guyanese are supreme, there is this shameless rolling over under ExxonMobil’s boots, and letting the company trample upon Guyana.
Oil production at Guyana’s offshore fields is proceeding at breakneck speed, with recommended safety limits being violated. The safety limits breached are neither negligible nor without possible serious peril to this country. Frequent warnings come, but the leaders of the PPPC Government are so enslaved to ExxonMobil’s rush to pump our oil out of the ground that they dismiss both the warnings and those uttering them. Government leaders have no use for Environmental Impact Assessments EIA), which are routinely ignored, mere nuisances and inconveniences to be dismissed. That is the attitude and reaction of the PPPC Government, which gives ExxonMobil the greenlight to race past the prescribed safety limits for daily oil production.
The EIA is clear for Liza Destiny and Liza Unity: the combined daily production safety limit for both FPSOs is 340,000 barrels. From ExxonMobil’s CEO, Darren Woods, we learn that the average daily production for both vessels is 360,000 barrels, or almost 6% over the recommended safety limit. From the Ministry of Natural Resources, Guyanese are informed that production in September peaked at 391,980 barrels, or a staggering 15% above safety limits. It is unbelievable that any government would allow such a dangerous development to occur, where ExxonMobil continually pushes the envelope of safety. What is clear is that either ExxonMobil is calling the shots or that the PPPC Government is a willing ally in the company’s recklessness offshore.
From Darren Woods himself, and Guyana’s own Ministry of Natural Resources production figures, Guyanese learn that ExxonMobil is consistently operating beyond the red zone of what is considered safe. Vice President Jagdeo is the chief in charge of the nation’s oil, and he is missing in action, or impotent. Moreover, Guyana’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is supposed to be the nation’s traffic cop closely watching ExxonMobil, and it is asleep on the job, or fearful of the company. The result is that this oil that could mean so much for Guyana’s prosperity could be the cause of its bankruptcy with ExxonMobil’s continued breaching of recommended daily oil production safety limits.
Obviously, EIAs are not worth the time and expense spent on them when they are discarded like this by ExxonMobil. It could be said that EIAs are strictly for the show of having done them, but they have no value, no relevance in the eyes of the PPPC Government and ExxonMobil, considering how they are followed. President Ali and Vice President usually sing that farcical song about accelerating production, but doing so “responsibly.” Somebody either forgot to tell ExxonMobil, or speak of producing “responsibly” with a wink and a nod. This is a joke, with ExxonMobil laughing at Guyanese, while spitting upon EIA safety limits. As another example, according to former EPA Head, Dr. Vincent Adams, the maximum safe production limit for the Liza Destiny is 120,000 barrels daily, yet ExxonMobil has exceeded that by 30,000 barrels or a massive 25%.
Undoubtedly, the weak and woeful PPPC Government and the wretched and useless EPA are playing with fire. While ExxonMobil plays with matches, the concern is that Guyanese are the ones who will get burned. Guyanese will have to bear the burdens, they will have to foot the uncovered bills; they will have to live with lost hopes. All this confirms that ExxonMobil does what it wants in Guyana, and that leaders in the PPPC Government are helpless in slowing the company down. In fact, serious doubts have emerged that the PPPC Government has any interest in making ExxonMobil obey requirements that protect Guyana. When ExxonMobil rushes ahead with unsafe daily production levels, all Guyanese get to appreciate who runs this country. It is neither President Ali nor Vice President Jagdeo. ExxonMobil runs over them and the EPA; ExxonMobil runs Guyana, and endangers all of us.
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