Leader of the Alliance For Change (AFC), Khemraj Ramjattan was keen to note during a virtual press conference today that he holds the firm belief that ExxonMobil is taking advantage of Guyana when it comes to flaring.
During its time in office, the former Minister said that the AFC made its position on flaring pellucid, as such, the environmental permit that was issued to the company ensured that there would only be flaring during start up of operations which lasts for only a few days or a week the most. For the flaring to extend to nine months shows that ExxonMobil is taking advantage of Guyana, the Opposition member stated.
The AFC Leader acknowledged to some extent that the APNU+AFC administration had made some missteps with the sector but he called this a “learning curve” which he hopes the new government would use to the benefit of the nation.
He stressed that at the end of the day, the company must have all the necessary mechanisms in place that would prevent the pollution of the environment.
With respect to criticisms that it the AFC is only speaking on these matters now but was silent while in office, Ramjattan said that this is not the case. The politician said that while the party’s views were not brought to the attention of the media, they were raised with the Environmental Protection Agency as well as the Department of Energy.
Apart from Exxon flaring over 10 billion cubic feet of gas to date, Ramjattan said that the AFC has had engagements with the relevant authorities on ExxonMobil’s dumping of produced water into the ocean. (Produced water is the liquid that accompanies the oil when it is extracted by the oil company. It contains several chemicals that carry varying levels of toxicity.)
Ramjattan said that ExxonMobil was expected to be dumping this water into the ocean for a short time but certainly not until now. He was also disappointed to learn that Exxon wants to continue the same practice for the Payara operations for which it is awaiting approval. The Opposition Member said that this should not be allowed while noting that he is hopeful the new administration would do right by the country on this matter.
Guyana Standard would have reported that the PPP/C administration is in the process of reviewing the draft license for the project’s approval. This is expected to be completed before the end of the month. The Minister of Natural Resources, Vickram Bharrat has indicated that key environmental matters are still being ironed out.