GUYANA: Exxon study says… 5th oil project could affect air quality we breathe’

Jan 15, 2023  – Kaieteur News – American oil giant, ExxonMobil Corporation, has put Guyana on notice that its fifth project in the Stabroek Block, set to develop over 1.3 billion barrels of oil, could affect the nation’s air quality.

Specifically, the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the US$12.6B project states that emissions resulting from the project have the potential to change ambient air quality in the Project Area of Influence. Air quality Exxon noted is important for health of humans and wildlife. It was further noted by Exxon that Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the Project may increase the GHG concentrations in the atmosphere.           

Kaieteur News understands that emissions generated by the Project emanate from two source categories. It said specific point sources include power-generating units and diesel engines on drill ships, and the Floating Production, Storage, and Offloading (FPSO) vessel. It also includes flares used to combust associated gas when not consumed as fuel gas on the FPSO or reinjected into the reservoir.

Exxon said other sources of emissions will include support vessels, construction vessels, tugboats, and helicopters. Exxon said emissions from the listed offshore vessels will contribute to increases in the ambient air concentrations of criteria pollutants and will also increase Guyana’s national GHG emissions inventory.

Flaring onboard the Liza Destiny

Flaring onboard the Liza Destiny

Regarding potential air quality impacts from pollutants, depending on the magnitude and extent of the increases in concentrations, Exxon said the increases from Project activities would have the potential to contribute to health impacts. The study said ExxonMobil and its affiliates will put safeguards in place, adding that they generally follow the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienist’s Threshold Limit Values to set the exposure limits for chemical, physical, and biological substances.

Along with impacts to air quality, Exxon said the project will have localized impacts on marine water quality in the Project Development Area (PDA) from the discharge of drill cuttings and from routine operational and hydrotesting discharges. It said too that the project could potentially impact marine water quality as a result of non-routine; unplanned events (e.g., oil spill or release).

Additionally, Kaieteur News understands that the project could potentially impact marine fish as a result of underwater sound, light, changes to seafloor habitat, seawater intake, and changes in marine water quality in the PDA. The Project according to the study could potentially impact marine fish as a result of non-routine, unplanned events such as an oil spill or release.

Importantly, Exxon said the project will increase the demand for hazardous and non-hazardous waste management services and infrastructure in Guyana and thus could potentially compete with other existing waste generators for limited waste management capacity.

Importantly, the Uaru Project is expected to cost Guyana over GY$2.6T (US$12B). The Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) states that the Uaru Development Project will develop the Uaru, Mako and Snoek oil-rich fields with the potential to develop other resources within the Licence area.

A preliminary schedule anticipates that FPSO and other fabrication and installation works will begin in 2024 following the completion of engineering and will take approximately three years. Development well drilling may also occur during this period. Production operations are expected to begin in 2027 and will continue for at least 20 years.

With respect to the FPSO, EEPGL’s Environmental Impact Assessment states that oil production will average at 250,000 barrels of oil per day. It was keen to note that peak rates may be higher during the lifetime of the project, depending on multiple factors such as reservoir pressure, number of wells, equipment reliability etc. It states at page 146, “Currently, the FPSO basic design has an upper production limit of 263,000 BPD (42,080 m3) peak oil production rate. For the purposes of the EIA, production up to 300,000 bpd is considered to assess potential impacts from the project and cover potential production optimization after facility start up. If during the detailed design stage or during production operations an opportunity to expand the upper production limit arises, the project will document the evaluation and justification and an updated upper production limit will be available.”

It was also noted that the project will be producing 540 million standard cubic feet of gas per day.

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  • Age  On 01/16/2023 at 4:50 pm

    How does this news bode well for those trying to sell reclaimed seashore dutty for millions of USD?

    At the rate these oil projects are going, a child born in Guyana today will become of age when the oil reserves are almost depleted.

  • William  On 01/16/2023 at 10:56 pm

    If what they say is true then the government need to stop the drilling of these new wells now. Guyanese need to protest this latest development if they want to keep themselves and families healthy. The health of the citizens must trump the economic windfall.

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