Former Minister of Public Infrastructure with responsibility for energy, David Patterson, tabled a motion in the National Assembly today which calls for Exxonmobil’s subsidiary, Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Limited (EEPGL) to comply with the provisions on zero routine flaring in its permit for the Liza Phase One Project.
The motion by the Opposition Member comes in wake of disclosures by the American oil giant last month that it was forced to burn almost 16 cubic feet of gas per day as its gas compressor had malfunctioned again. The first incident in this regard occurred in December 2019, and led to one year of flaring. During that time, more than 12 billion cubic feet of gas was burnt, thereby releasing toxic, cancer causing agents into the nation’s atmosphere.
In his motion, Patterson stressed that the Environmental Protection Agency has to play its role by ensuring all reasonable measures are taken to prohibit flaring at the Liza Phase One Project. In this regard, Patterson suggested that the EPA could instruct ExxonMobil to lower its production which would in turn, lead to lower levels of flaring.
The motion further notes that the Liza Phase One and Two permits which contain loopholes that allow for flaring without consequence, must be updated. Patterson specifically noted in the document that the permits should be brought in line with the Payara Environmental Permit which outlines penalties for flaring.
The former Minister is also calling for key terms such as startup, emergencies, commissioning, and maintenance periods to be revisited in the Liza Phase One permit so that Exxon has no wriggle room for its reckless endangerment of the environment.