Should there be an uncontained oil spill in the Payara field of the Stabroek Block, it could reach Venezuela, Trinidad and Tobago, and other neighbouring territories.

This was noted in an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) that was submitted to the authorities by Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Limited (EEPGL), the subsidiary of American oil giant, ExxonMobil.

EEPGL was required to prepare and submit the EIA since it wants the approval of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for a third oil development field in the Stabroek Block. That third development is referred to as Payara and will be supported by more than four oil rich reservoirs which would be producing over 200,000 barrels per day.

The EIA notes that the Guyana current is strong. In fact, there is nearly year round westerly flowing current along the coast of Guyana which it says, increases the probability of an oil spill impacting the coastal zones of nearby countries to the north and west.

Based on the Oil spill modeling that was used, it was noted that an unmitigated oil spill would affect Trinidad and Tobago, the northern South American coast, and the so called “ABC Islands” (Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao).

Expounding further, the EIA noted that an unmitigated oil spill from a loss-of-well-control event during the December to May season would take a west-northwesterly route through the Gulf of Paria and across the southern edge of the Caribbean Sea.

Comparatively, the EIA states that strong easterly winds in the December−May season would expose the northern coast of South America and the southern Lesser Antilles to the bulk of shoreline oiling risk.

The EIA went on to state that an equivalent spill during the June–November season would be exposed to lower wind speeds, allowing the surface plume or spread to be transported to the north of Trinidad and Tobago and swept into the Caribbean Sea.

Guyana Standard understands that the plume would track slightly more to the north, across the central Caribbean Sea and the central and southern portions of the Lesser Antilles, to the Greater Antilles.


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