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IOA: Guyana should take proactive approach to protecting environment - Head of Mexico's Regulatory Authority


Institute of The Americas-IOA, XXVII La Jolla Energy Conference, San Diego, California.

By Kiana Wilbur

SAN DIEGO, California
Petroleumworld 05 25

Prudential regulations, particularly those concerning the safety of individuals and the integrity of the environment, should always be a priority for any emerging oil and gas nation.

Executive Director of Agency for Security, Energy and the Environment (ASEA) of Mexico, Carlos De Regules, expressed the view that Guyana would be wise to take a proactive approach in the regulation of oil operators and their effect on the environment. He said, “This needs to start now.”

The Mexican official said that Guyana and other emerging producers of petroleum must be aware of the fact that absence of regulation is the main entrance to the “polluters' heaven.” He noted that there are many examples of how lack of regulation has cost nations across the world.

The Executive Director of ASEA made these and other comments after his panel discussion on Wednesday. That discussion focused on the exercise of regulation and balancing oversight in the oil industry.

The panel discussion was part of a series of events organized by the Institute of Americas. The Geopolitics of Energy Conference, which took place in La Jolla, California, and was hosted by the institute, saw participation from some of the leading stakeholders in the global energy sector.

In an exclusive interview, the Executive Director said that as Guyana moves to establish as well as strengthen systems for monitoring oil companies and their effect on the environment, he would advise that a risk-based approach to regulation be taken.

He said that this is what is done by ASEA, a technical and administrative body in Mexico that is responsible for regulating and supervising industrial and operational safety, and environmental protection in the energy sector.
Regules explained that risk-based regulation focuses on the delivery of outcomes and public value, in which the regulator seeks to partner with the regulated in the proactive prevention of harms.

The Executive Director said, “This is not a euphemism for careless deregulation. It is exactly the opposite. It represents the technical confidence that we can harness the different levels of negative externalities of a given activity and increase its benefits, as opposed to setting arbitrary one-size-fits-all limits to it, at the expense of its potential value.

“This approach enhances the possibility of innovation and can concentrate the industry's capability to find new and effective solutions on safety and environmental protection.”

The Executive Director further said that while this method provides for some degree of technical flexibility, those who implement it must understand that it provides for “undiluted and unequivocal accountability from the regulated industry and for an optimized bureaucratic burden for the State.”

He said that mechanisms such as self-declarations and the use of certified third parties must play an encompassing role for a successful approach to prudential regulation aimed to control risk.

Regules said, “It is, no doubt, an optimistic approach to problems in the sector, nonetheless one that captures the very nature of our historical efforts as a region to cultivate innovation, efficiency, and accountability in the search for better living standards for our peoples.”

Given the allegations as well as proven cases of environmental disasters by oil giant, ExxonMobil, locals have expressed grave concern about the nation's institutional and legal capacity to independently monitor compliance with environmental regulations.

The Coalition Administration has done little to quell the concerns of its people in this regard.

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Story by Kiana Wilbur from Kaieter News, reporting from California
05 25 2018

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