This year’s Exxon Torch is the equivalent of removing 1.6M acres of forest
By Mikaila Prince
Kaieteur News – Two days ago, ExxonMobil announced that it had discontinued its significant extraction of toxic natural gas at its Phase One Liza operations, its first offshore commercial investment from Guyana. This development followed Exxon, which prides itself on being an effective emissions controller, failed to mitigate a torch at Liza One for a year.
Recent details from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) now show that ExxonMobil would have emitted 12.4 billion cubic feet of gas a day, which equates to the removal of 1.6M acres of forest in the same year. Simply put, this means Exxon has flaunted toxic natural gas that could have been offset by a Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam) forest.
Yesterday, the Acting Director of the EPA, Sharifah Razack, reported in a report, on December 15, that the total volume of gas flared from the Liza One operation was 12.429 billion standard cubic feet (BSCF) of gas. Her report also noted that 8.310 million standard cubic feet per day of gas was flamed during December, adding that the torch had been reduced to 0.661 million standard cubic feet per day by the reporting date.
“The total volume of gas injected on December 15, 2020, in Liza One operation was 12.895 BSCF with an injection volume of 126.416 million standard cubic feet per day of gas being reached on December 15, 2020 itself,” the EPA.
Guyana’s Esso Exploration and Production Limited (EEPGL) reported that it had experienced safe and consistent operations in the previous week, with average production of 105 kilo barrels per day and average torching at 8.6 thousand cubic feet per day.
The EPA noted that the third-stage Flash Gas Compressor (FGC) completed its Phase Three Test program, including a 72-hour run on Dec. 5, with LP and MP Compressors running and flaking at safety pilot levels. During the test program, monitoring and control parameters were developed for ongoing operations.
The FCG was shut down on Dec. 8, the EPA noted, in preparation for a restart on Dec. 11. Following this, the FCG is said to have undergone a seven-day endurance run to ensure reliability and monitor operating conditions and any issues in order. to make final procedural improvements for reliable operations.
Importantly, Liza One is currently operating on a pilot flare, which is said to provide a source of ignition for burning.
Notably, in late October, the company flaunted more than 16M cubic feet of natural gas, thus making Guyana one of the top five countries in the world for a year-on-year per capita flame. In September, Guyana had tracked Libya, Gabon, Oman, Qatar and Iraq, in total gas flame per capita, judging from statistics from the World Bank’s Global Gas Flame Tracker Report (July, 2020). However, the escalating blaze in October caused Guyana to surpass Iraq.
The company claimed it had to flame, as its gas compression equipment was faulty and needed repair abroad. The repairs were reportedly difficult to get in a hurry, given restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic safety guidelines on companies.
Even as Guyana pursued the exploitation of its resources in the Stabroek Block, Conservationist Annette Arjoon-Martins had made it clear that the authorities of the day should not neglect the nation’s commitment to tackling change climate. Arjoon-Martins had said that Guyana authorities always needed to factor in the environmental costs of projects.
The Conservationist had told this publication, “Environmental costs associated with torching have a significant impact on our climate and are conveniently pushed aside as these costs are not adequately funded. our control of these sectors such as oil and gas. This unsustainable situation is exacerbated by failing to account for medium and longer term impacts in planning by thinking about current impacts. ”
He added, “We may not be feeling the effects of a blaze now but this is certainly affecting our climate for future generations. Thinking about the currents alone is short sighted at the expense of our sustainable development of future generations. ”
Arjoon-Martins also noted that Guyana had signed several international and bilateral agreements including the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and Guyana Norway’s Bilateral Cooperation on climate and forests. The advocate for environmental protection said it was vital that all men, women and children understand that the recent burst of torch puts these at risk because it is contrary to those commitments.