While it is reasonable to expect unplanned disruptions during petroleum operations, what should never be accepted are excuses about the same type of disruptions over and over again says former Head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Dr. Vincent Adams.
During a recent interview with Guyana Standard, Dr. Adams said it is “utterly ridiculous” that ExxonMobil continues to blame issues with its gas compressor for its continued flaring via the Liza Destiny FPSO. He said too that the government has been overly accommodating in accepting such a state of affairs for over one year. What is also upsetting he posited, is that Exxon is on record since in 2016, committing to having zero flaring from ‘day one’ after start of operations. “The fact however is that day one has turned into day 300 and more, the oil specialist added.
Even more egregious and uncaring for the health, environment, and wellbeing of the People of Guyana, Dr. Adams said, was ExxonMobil’s revelation during certain meetings that it is acceptable for it to discharge air pollutants through flaring because Guyana is a carbon sink and therefore has the capacity to absorb more pollutants.
Further to this, the former EPA Head was keen to note that these types of disruptions are easily avoidable and cannot be blamed on the manufacturer, especially when it comes to new equipment. In this regard, he said that Exxon knows it owns the responsibility to ensure the manufacturing is done in full accord with the design specifications through a rigorous Quality Assurance/Quality Control Plan which they have to oversee.
He recalled that during his tenure, he would have ensured that the EPA emphasized this to them several times even though it should have been second nature for a company of this stature.
Dr. Adams said, “They cannot wait until the equipment arrives to figure out that the wires are aligned incorrectly, or the seals are made of the wrong material when they have done this numerous times before…”
The official who holds a PhD. In Environmental Engineering said that the PPP/C Administration must demand better from the oil giant and ensure that the EPA is equipped with the requisite resources to carry out its functions as a no-nonsense regulator that will make companies face the music for reckless or harmful behavior to the environment.