Guyana Govt. seeks int’l consultants to review Exxon’s studies for Payara Project
By Kiana Wilburg / Kaieteur News
Petroleumworld 09 20 2021
The PPP/C Government is seeking three international consultants to review submissions by ExxonMobil for studies related to the Payara Project.
According to the Ministry of Natural Resources’ (MNR) invitation for individual consultancies, which was published yesterday, an international consultant is being sought to review and assess a Block Seismic and Well Injection Study.
In this regard, the Payara Petroleum Production Licence, signed on September 30, 2020, states that ExxonMobil should complete an analysis of natural seismic activity and magnitude from events such as earthquakes, volcanoes etc. The analysis is expected to consider the potential impact of the injection of fluids on such activities.
The successful applicant is expected to provide support to the government in executing an assessment of the submissions the Operator has made, with respect to the Block Seismic Activity Study and its alignment with the approved Terms of Reference and international best practices.
The consultant is also expected to review the Operator’s evaluation of the Liza, Payara and neighbouring future development areas in terms of the location, tectonic setting, and regional seismicity; review the Operator’s evaluation on additional induced seismicity risks and considerations based on subsurface conditions for the Payara development area; examine the Operator’s findings for the potential of injection of fluids triggering seismic events; and examine the recommendations the Operator would have made in regards to the findings.
The government expects that following the review, the consultant will identify areas of shortcomings in the study, with respect to the TOR of the study; provide written recommendations to improve the study; support the team in their interactions with the Operator, including but not limited to assisting the MNR in formulating responses and communications to the Operator aimed at lodging objections, resolving differences in technical judgment, requesting modifications, etc; support the MNR towards the review and closing of the Operator’s draft report; and provide a final report on the completed and appropriate recommendations.
Furthermore, the consultant is expected to produce a final report with the findings and recommendations to be made.
The second consultant being sought by the government will review ExxonMobil’s submissions on a Permissible Flaring and Production Profile Maintenance Study.
According to the Payara Petroleum Production Licence, this study aims to construct a reliability, availability and maintainability (RAM) model. It is expected to include a report of key metrics, including an estimate of the oil vessel’s (Floating Production Storage and Offloading –FPSO) overall production system for achieving flaring permissible under the Production License and Environmental Permit.
During the consulting period, the consultant is expected to review all submissions made by the Operator, and all other supporting documentation, as well as verify whether the submissions made by the Operator addressed the items outlined in the Terms of Reference (TOR) of the study and if it meets the intent of the Conditions within the Payara Petroleum Production Licence.
The review will include, but not be limited to a review of the information provided by the Operator with respect to constructing a RAM model and the subsequent report of key metrics; review the Operator’s prioritised list of opportunities to improve the FPSO’s overall production system based on cost-benefit analyses; and examine the recommendations the Operator would have made in regards to the findings.
As with the first consultant, the government will expect the successful applicant to identify areas of shortcomings of the study with respect to the TORs and provide written recommendations to improve same.
As for the third international consultant, this person will be required to assess and review submissions related to ExxonMobil’s Produced Water and Re-Injection Study for the Payara Project. This study focuses on the cost, benefits and feasibility of the treatment and reinjection of produced water.
The review will include but not be limited to the cost, benefits, and feasibility of implementing a system for the reinjection of produced water, save and except in defined unavoidable situations, as the primary disposal method; and the minimization of the effects of the discharging produced water into the ocean in keeping with accepted international standards.
Kaieteur News previously reported that Payara is the third project in the Stabroek Block and is expected to produce up to 220,000 barrels of oil per day after startup in 2024, using the Prosperity Floating, Production, Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessel. Ten drill centers are planned along with up to 41 wells, including 20 production and 21 injection wells. The gross recoverable resources of Payara are estimated to be 600 million barrels of oil equivalent (boe) resources and the project is expected to cost US$9B.
What is produced water and why a study is necessary
For more than five years, Kaieteur News has reported on the need for environmental regulators, and the government by extension, to demand 100 percent reinjection of produced water.
This call is premised on the fact that produced water, which is brought up with the oil and gas during extraction from the wells offshore, is known to be extremely hot and fraught with various types of toxic chemicals.
In light of this, international institutions and reputable research groups have urged nations, such as Guyana, to study the impacts of produced water before recklessly dumping it into the ocean, as there can be far reaching implications for marine life.
Thus far, Guyana has permitted ExxonMobil to dump produced water from the Liza One and Two projects into the ocean, with no regard for the likely environmental impacts.