Even though ExxonMobil has said that it is flaring 16 million cubic feet of gas daily aboard the Liza Destiny due to a defective valve, the weak capacity of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) prevents it from independently verify these quantities.

To ensure Guyana addresses this deficiency going forward, Executive Member of the Alliance For Change (AFC), David Patterson, challenged the government to say what funds have been set aside to build capacity at the EPA. During his presentation on Friday on the 2021 budget, Patterson recalled that the World Bank and the EPA had jointly developed a framework for a 36-person highly skilled and experienced Oil and Gas Unit within the agency. Recruitment was supposed to be done with allocations from the 2020 budget. Patterson noted however that this was not possible as the passage of the full budget was stalled by the COVID-19 pandemic and the controversies surrounding the 2015 General and Regional Elections.

With the 2021 budget on the cards for consideration, Patterson called on the government to say how much has been allocated to recruit specialists for the EPA. He also called for similar accountability on the part of the Maritime Administration Department (MARAD).
The Shadow Minister for Oil and Gas said if changes are not made to this budget, such as those needed to improve the capacity of agencies so that they can be better regulators of the sector, “then we are being set up by this Government for failure – failure to keep promises, failure to deliver a better life for all Guyanese.”


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