Guyana used ExxonMobil’s choice instead of independent firms to review Liza project –Industry source reveals
By Kaieteur News
Petroleumworld 10 05 202
If Guyana had the right experts in its corner, is it possible that it could have known even before oil production commenced in 2019 that ExxonMobil would have had cause to burn a significant volume of gas? According to reputable energy experts who have worked closely with the former and current governments, the answer is an unequivocal “Yes!”
In fact, one of the industry consultants revealed in an interview with Kaieteur News that Guyana’s use of a UK company that was recommended by ExxonMobil is what has the country in the flaring predicament it is now trapped in. The company in question is Bayphase Oil and Gas Consultants. This company, Kaieteur News understands, was selected in 2019 to review ExxonMobil’s Field Development Plan for the Liza Phase One Project. It was selected in spite of the fact that it was a well-known client of ExxonMobil, and there being more than a dozen independent options to choose from.
In fact, Kaieteur News was reliably informed by the consultant with a deep knowledge of the matter that Bayphase was actually recommended to the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) by ExxonMobil. That recommendation was then passed on to former Natural Resources Minister, Raphael Trotman.
This newspaper understands that Trotman was fully aware that Bayphase was ExxonMobil’s client, and so he solicited a list of alternative companies. Despite having several independent, non-ExxonMobil clients to choose from, Bayphase was still given the job to review the FDP in the interest of the State.
Following the award, several enquiries were made and the reliable source learned that Bayphase never reviewed Guyana’s geological data independently during the FDP process. Instead, Bayphase relied on ExxonMobil’s interpretation of same. The oil consultant was keen to point out that Guyana’s blunder during that time is what has it in the position it is in today.
The consultant said, “If Guyana had the right people in its corner, it would have known since before oil started pumping, that ExxonMobil’s claim that it could reinject 100 percent of its gas was pure hogwash. When you are going to review any company’s FDP you have to understand your reservoir, how it is going to produce, where you are going to drill the wells, how much gas you will get and what you will do with it.”
The expert continued, “All of that is taken into account when you examine an FDP. But you cannot do that in the interest of the State by analyzing a company’s understanding of the data. The country needs experienced reservoir engineers in its corner to do this independently, then to check it against the interpretation provided by the company.”
The government advisor added, “When Bayphase was hired they never even looked at the seismic data Guyana has. They looked at ExxonMobil’s data…”
The industry expert said too, that what remains frightening is the fact that Guyana at this point, remains without the experts or the technological resources needed to do independent analysis.
“So if ExxonMobil has been telling you a lot of BS on flaring since the inception, how do you know the same is not being done to you on the gas to shore project especially when you have to rely on their word on how much gas you have and what is possible with it?”
EFFECTS OF FLARING
Extensive research conducted by Kaieteur News over the years shows that gas flaring contributes to climate change, which has serious implications for the human security and wellbeing globally. In fact, the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria, outlined in one of its studies, that gas flaring is actually a major source of greenhouse gases, which accelerates global warming.
It was noted that flaring releases Carbon Dioxide and Methane, the two major greenhouse gases. Of these two, Methane is actually more harmful than Carbon Dioxide. It is also more prevalent in flares that burn at lower efficiency.
Of the greenhouse gases researched so far, Kaieteur News understands that the global warming potential of a kilogramme of Methane is estimated to be 21 times that of a kilogramme of Carbon Dioxide when the effects are considered.
The University of Ibadan study also noted, that flaring contributes to local and regional environmental problems, such as acid rain with attendant impact on agriculture, forests and other physical infrastructure. The acid rain results in environmental degradation, which includes soil and water contamination and roof erosion.
Furthermore, there have been over 250 identified toxins released from flaring including carcinogens such as benzopyrene, benzene, carbon disulphide (CS2), carbonyl sulphide (COS) and toluene; metals such as mercury, arsenic and chromium; sour gas with Hydrogen Sulfide (H2S) and Sulfur Dioxide (SO2); Nitrogen oxides (NOx); Carbon dioxide (CO2); and methane (CH4) which contributes to the greenhouse gases.