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Vice President Jagdeo was gravely misled by EPA on Exxon's $14B flaring cap


Former EPA Director, Dr. Vincent Adams

By Kaieteur News

Petroleumworld 02 22 2021

Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo, Guyana's Vice President and de facto Energy Minister, while addressing ExxonMobil Guyana's flaring at his last press conference, revealed an interesting detail. He said that the US oil giant is allowed to flare up to 14 billion cubic feet of natural gas.

That allowance, the VP stated, was outlined in the Liza Phase One Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) which was approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) back in 2017.

The Vice President presented that information based on a brief, which he was said to have received from the EPA. However, according to its former Director, Dr. Vincent Adams, he was gravely misled.

“There is nothing (of the sort) in the EIA,” Dr. Adams stated. “…I would ask the press to challenge to them to let them show where in the EIA is that 14 billion cubic feet allowance that they claim is there.”

Following the disclosure by Dr. Jagdeo, Kaieteur News conducted detailed checks of each of the four volumes of the Liza Phase One EIA but discovered no such provision. So where did this figure come from?

Dr. Adams believes that it forms part of ExxonMobil's “public relations campaign of confusion, misinformation and distraction” to deflect from its continuous flaring and refusal to slash production.

“And apparently, our government is buying off on that nonsense. Somehow, they are getting the government to believe their story and nonsense and their misinformation and mistruth. We have got to understand that Exxon's interest is in making money and our focus should be making sure that we work in the best interest of this country,” Dr. Adams lamented.

According to the former EPA head, what the EIA did relative to flaring was to examine alternatives on how to dispose the gas. Reinjection was selected as the best option.
Dr. Adams explained that the EIA allows for flaring in non-routine conditions, as in this case where the gas injection system is temporarily unavailable. However, he added that Exxon continues to operate at full capacity so it cannot be considered a non-routine condition.

And while the EIA allows for pilot flaring, Dr. Adams outlined that the pilot flare would only account for one billion cubic feet of gas since Exxon began operating, leaving many to wonder “Where did this extra 13 billion that they are talking about come from?”

Presenting his theory, Dr. Adams stated that Exxon would have had to flare during routine operations to amass the
14 billion figure.

“If you do not flare during operations, it should have been at one billion,” he said, adding, “You are saying that somehow this 14 billion is there which means you had to have planned to flare during normal operations from day one even though you said you were not going to do that.”

The reader should note that questions were also sent to the current EPA Director, Sharifa Razack to provide insight as to exactly where in the EIA states that Exxon is allowed to flare 14 billion cubic feet of gas at its Liza Phase One project.

Up to press time, no response was provided.

If the public wishes to peruse the EIA, it can be accessed via the EPA's website – under the section EEPGL.


Story by Kaieteur News

02 22 2021


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