Opposition, EPA quiet on Exxon upset
– Dr. Adams that the oil giant must explain why equipment only fails in Guyana
By Mikaila Prince
Kaieteur News – It’s been three days since ExxonMobil – an oil giant pouring effective waste management – announced more torches at its Liza Destiny operations. Within those three days, Guyana has seen statements condemning the torch from bodies such as the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), international lawyer, conservationist, oil and gas groups, and even industry experts.
But in terms of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – Guyana’s environmental regulator – and the major political opposition, the A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance For Change (APNU + AFC), Guyanese has only heard a deafening silence.
In contrast to January 2020, the first Exxon flare up, the EPA was under the stewardship of Dr. Vincent Adams is quick to report the oil giant’s natural gas burn. At that time, Dr. Adams revealed to Kaieteur News, and later confirmed by ExxonMobil, that the blaze was due to a faulty gas compressor.
As a means of combating the blaze, although five months later, the EPA cut Exxon production by 60%, which meant it could only produce a maximum of 30,000 barrels of oil a day.
Fast forward to December 2020 when Exxon announced that it had repaired its faulty gas compressor, which meant it had stopped all normal torching. But by then, serious damage had already been done to the environment, with 12.4 billion cubic feet of toxic gas, which contained cancer-causing agents, released into the atmosphere.
Then last Friday, the US oil giant announced that their compressor malfunctioned again, and as a security mechanism, increased torching from pilot levels.
Since then, Guyana has heard nothing from current EPA Director Sharifah Razack on the blaze. Checks were made on the EPA’s website and Facebook page, but nothing was announced on the rising blaze. Kaieteur News had even reached out to Razack for comment on it since Friday, but up to press time, this publication received no response.
This silence is the same condition that Guyanese face when it comes to the APNU + AFC. In fact, no written statement or address was issued by the coalition, its members or the Leader of the Opposition, Joseph Harmon.
Instead, the only recent occasion when the public heard any references from APNU + AFC was during a parliamentary session last week, where it fought bravely to amend the Marijuana Bill. That Bill, after four hours of debate, was eventually thrown out.
Despite this silence, Dr. Vincent Adams, former Head of the EPA, recently told Kaieteur News that Exxon should explain why this type of equipment failure only occurs in Guyana, when this country is not home to their operation or ‘ to a first experience in the oil. industry.
He went on to point out that these types of disturbances are easy to avoid and cannot be blamed on the manufacturer, especially in terms of brand new equipment. He reminded Exxon that it is responsible for ensuring that manufacturing is carried out to the design specifications, through a rigorous Quality Assurance / Quality Management Plan, which it must oversee.
The EPA had stressed the requirement to Exxon several times, Dr. Adams, although this should have been second nature to a company of this status.
“They can’t wait until the equipment arrives to find that the wires are incorrectly aligned, or that the seals are made of the wrong material, when they have done this many times before. Why is Guyana different ?! “Dr Adams rebuked her.
In light of the above, the former Head of the EPA stated that the Government must decide whether Exxon’s performance to date deserves its trust in protecting the health, environment and welfare of the Guyanese people.
“And let me add that it’s just a slap on the wrist [will be the fine for] for the excessive torching. This is a joke, because this will only cost minuscule [when compared to] their business [earnings]. ”
Dr. noted that Adams hopes that this unfortunate incident will once again highlight the urgency for the government to properly equip the EPA with the necessary capacity to oversee these operations, including the presence and 24/7 on-site investment. in training and recruiting specialized necessary skills. Kaieteur News understands that these are already incorporated into a plan developed between the EPA, the Department of Energy (DoE) and the World Bank.
He further noted that he also holds optimism that the government will ensure that the design flaws in the Liza Destiny and FPSO license are not present in the Liza Two and Payara developments.