Jan 23, 2023 News
– Former EPA Boss says Exxon making a mockery of country
Kaieteur News – Guyana’s two oil ships—the Liza Destiny and the Liza Unity— were pushed to reach one of their highest production levels in December last year. This occurred in breach of the safe operating limits prescribed in their respective Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA).
The safe operating limit for Liza Destiny is 120,000 barrels of oil per day while it is 220,000 barrels of oil per day (bpd) from the Liza Unity. This would see safe production at approximately 340,000bpd. It was however, as high as 394,000 bpd in December 2022. Latest data from the Ministry of Natural Resources show that for Liza Destiny, production peaked at 152,940 bpd while at Unity it was 241,160 bpd.
ExxonMobil Corporation’s affiliate, Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Limited (EEPGL) is expected to ramp up production at the Liza Unity by as much as 20 percent. The same will obtain when its third vessel, the Prosperity, comes on stream at the Payara field later this year.
Upon taking note of this accelerated pace of production, former Head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Dr. Vincent Adams, said in a previous interview that the American oil giant is not only slaughtering the safety limits but making a mockery of the Government in the name of greed.
Dr. Adams said when an Environmental Impact Assessment is done prior to oil production operations commencing, it explains clearly what would be the safe limit of production the oil companies will abide by. He said too that this number is used to generate oil spill scenarios for the Government’s regulatory arm to consider. When the goalpost is shifted by going beyond the safety limit, Dr. Adams said it is commonsense that the EIA would be properly updated to reflect the new risks that come with increased production numbers.
Dr. Adams said, “Exxon has clearly invalidated the EIA and I say that because the purpose of the EIA is to set the safety production limit and now that limit has been exceeded or violated without a proper review process…the maximum limit for the Liza Destiny was 120,000 barrels per day. They are now at over 150,000 barrels, a 25 percent increase and that is unheard of.”
When told that the company has said it has engaged in ‘debottlenecking exercises’ to allow for the increase, Dr. Adams said this too is absolute nonsense. He said Exxon’s Executives use such jargons as a mask for their unconscionable pursuit of obscene profits. Dr. Adams said, “They are using this debottlenecking jargon to intimidate and confuse because they know most Guyanese don’t know fully what this type of lingo means. That terminology means that they widen the piping system and other equipment to increase production. They try to make it seem that this is some industry norm but it is not. They can’t pull this nonsense in the USA- I know that for a fact.” The former EPA Head added, “I do believe that they know the right thing but they are without a conscience and ruthlessly taking advantage of an abysmal EPA and weak Government. The EPA is being paid to be our protector but they are obviously intimidated by Exxon which does whatever it wants.”
Given the extent to which Exxon is able to have its way with its drilling programmes, Dr. Adams said one can easily conclude that it is the American oil giant that is running the EPA and probably even the Government. He said no matter how fast the company wants to go, Government willingly complies.
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