Exxon increases flaring after issues with gas compressor 

Liza Destiny flaring (Annette Arjoon photo)

United States oil giant ExxonMobil has had to increase its flaring of gas due to more issues on the gas compressor of the Liza Destiny vessel.

In a statement on Friday, the oil major said it is experiencing a technical issue with a seal on Liza Destiny’s gas compressor.

“This unfortunate incident resulted in us having to temporarily increase our flare above pilot levels in order to maintain safe operations,” the missive stated.

According to President of ExxonMobil Guyana, Alistair Routledge, efforts are underway to fix this issue as soon as possible.

“We are disappointed that this unexpected issue has occurred and we’re working diligently with the vessel’s owner and the equipment vendor to understand and fix the issue as quickly as possible,” Routledge posited in the brief statement.

Exxon further noted that the relevant Government authorities have been informed and that they are providing regular updates on the matter.

Meanwhile, in recent days, local environmentalist Annette Arjoon has been vocal on social media about the oil major recommencing heavy flaring offshore.

In a Facebook post today, Arjoon showed a series of photos highlighting that “…Exxon has flared continuously even though they only reported a problem with their gas compressor [Friday] evening. The flaring is worse when the fuel tankers are uplifting fuel every seven days. Exxon flared for all of 2020 because they were allowed to. That they have not yet replaced the faulty compressor which is flaring away into 2021 gives the impression they expect that there will be no consequences this year either. In a time of a global climate emergency and especially when Guyana is expecting to continue its Low Carbon Development pathway. This environmentally criminal flaring is taking us down a More Carbon Development Pathway.”

Only less than a year ago, the oil giant came under heavy fire for its flaring activities, which has negative effects on the environment and has had environmentalists up in arms over the harmful exercise.

In response to last year’s flaring which lasted over one year, ExxonMobil had cut back on oil production in an effort to reduce flaring after the fuel injection system was not commissioned. It subsequently commissioned a gas injection system to cut out flaring.

Back in December on the oil company’s first anniversary since commencing production in 2019, Routledge had expressed disappointment at the equipment issues they experienced and assured that routine flaring would not be used.

“ExxonMobil Guyana is committed to the responsible development of the country’s natural resources and will not utilise routine flaring during our operations… We took significant steps to limit flaring and are incorporating lessons learned for future projects,” RRoutledge had explained in the statement.

Nevertheless, the PPP/C Government has made its position pellucid on routine flaring and in the Payara Development Licence, prohibited the activity unless approval was granted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

“Flaring to maintain oil production will not be permitted. Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Limited (EEPGL) will pay the Government for the cost of gas wasted during flaring and will also be subject to fines under the EPA related to emissions from flaring,” the Natural Resources Ministry had stated back in October. EEPGL is Exxon’s local affiliate, which along with other partners are operating in the Stabroek Block.

Further, if Exxon flares gas and is at fault for doing so, they will have to pay a fine to Guyana for the burnt gas.