Parliamentary motion calls for EPA intervention in Exxon flaring in Stabroek block

 Opposition Member of Parliament, David Patterson, has submitted a motion to the House pertaining to ExxonMobil’s flaring at the offshore Stabroek Block.

According to an overview of the motion, Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Limited (EEPGL) was on June 1, 2017, granted an Environmental Permit, No. 20160705-EEDPF, to undertake Phase 1 of the Liza Development Project, which included the use of a Floating, Production, Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessel “to process, store and offload the recovered oil during production operations within the Stabroek Block”. It further states that Clause 1.10 of the Liza 1 Permit enjoined the Permit Holder, EEPGL, to “employ effective operational and maintenance systems on all aspects of the facility whose failure could impact the environment…”
Additionally, it highlighted that clause 3.6 of the Liza 1 Permit expressly prohibits flaring and venting; with exceptions being made for “tank flashing emission, standing/working/breathing losses” and flaring related to the startup of the FPSO, emergencies or during periods of maintenance. However, in light of the above mentioned, it notes that EEPGL has routinely been engaged in flaring in direct contravention of the terms of the Liza 1 Permit issued and acknowledged, and as a result, has caused, and is causing substantial damage to the environment and the credibility of the Liza 1 Development Project.
Calculations based on reported EEPGL’s production data shows that zero flaring, except for the small amount allowed for pilot flaring, may be achieved by reducing oil production by approximately 15,000 barrels of oil per day. Additionally, the motion points out Clause 13.1 in the Liza 1 and Liza 2 Permits which mandate that, “the Environmental Protection Agency reserves the right to review and amend the conditions attached to this Permit”.
The motion noted that “this National Assembly expresses its dissatisfaction, that all reasonable measures have not been taken or are being taken to prevent the flaring of gas as currently exists, and which is reported by EEPGL to be 16 million cubic feet per day (mcfd) at the designed maximum safe oil production limit of 120,000 barrels oil, per day (bopd).”
The motion further calls on government to direct EEPGL to abide by the terms and conditions of the Liza 1 Permit issued on June 1, 2017 and to request that the Environmental Protection Agency takes all reasonable measures to ensure compliance. Such reasonable measures include EEPGL achieving zero flaring at the Liza 1 Project through reduction of oil production rates; and suspension of same Liza 1 Permit if zero flaring is not met, until the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is satisfied that all reasonable and lawful efforts are being made to ensure that there is no flaring of gas as has occurred over the past several weeks. The motion further requested that the Liza 1 and Liza 2 Permits be immediately amended by the EPA to become consistent with the updated conditions in the Payara Permit, relative to flaring.

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