Harmon asks ExxonMobil for timetable to fix problems aboard oil production ship

Last Updated on Tuesday, 20 April 2021, 9:31 by Denis Chabrol

Opposition Leader Joseph Harmon has asked the President of ExxonMobil Guyana Alistair Routledge for a meeting to discuss a timetable to fix malfunctioning equipment aboard the Floating Production, Storage and Offloading vessel , Liza Destiny.

In a letter dispatched to Mr. Routledge, the Guyanese Opposition Leader wants the American oil major to also explain what the problem with the discharge silencer and what impact that would have on earnings and the environment.

“I therefore seek an urgent meeting with you and your executive team at the earliest mutually convenient opportunity to be briefed on matters to include this recent development, the root cause(s) of equipment failures resulting in excessive flaring and reduced production, your plan with schedule for permanently addressing these root cause(s), and the short and long term economic and environmental implications for all of Guyana,” he said in the letter that his secretariat released to the media.

ExxonMobil last week informed government that it had cut production from 120,000 barrels per day to 30,000 barrels per day after the gas silencer developed problems after the installation and testing of the already troublesome flash gas compressor aboard the Floating Production, Storage and Offloading vessel (FPSO), Liza Destiny.

Since ExxonMobil began commercial oil production in December 2019, the FPSO has been dogged by problems, leading to a reduction in production twice and an increase in gas flaring.

The Opposition Leader told the ExxonMobil Guyana President that his request for a meeting stems from concerns by supporters of A Partnership for National Unity+Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC), civil society and the wider Guyanese public about the prolonged problems facing the company in getting its oil production systems up to the required standards. “I am in receipt of numerous queries from our constituents, civil society and concerned citizens expressing their worry that EEPGL’s (Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Limited’s) performance since inception, appear to be far below expectations and is eroding their confidence in a safe and environmentally sound operation. Similar queries have been received by my colleague Members of Parliament and my office,” said Mr. Harmon. EEPGL is the locally-registered ExxonMobil-controlled company with the other partners being Hess Corporation and China National Overseas Oil Company (CNOOC).

The Ministry of Natural Resources has said cautioned that it would take steps to protect Guyana’s national interests, even as it joined ExxonMobil in raising concerns about the failure so far to properly remedy the technical issues.