Exxon to undergo final testing phase of repaired gas compressor

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Flaring on Liza Destiny earlier this year (Annette Arjoon)

US oil major, ExxonMobil, is set to undergo the final testing phase of the faulty gas compressor on the Liza Destiny Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessel this week.

“The final stage of testing will take place this week after removal of temporary instrumentation. The third phase involves monitoring the performance of the machine closely in normal, steady-state operation. We will provide an additional update early next week,” Exxon’s Government and Public Affairs Advisor Janelle Persaud said in an update on Wednesday.

She explained that the repaired and upgraded components of the flash gas compression system was safely reinstatement, after which the team onboard the Liza Destiny initiated a comprehensive three-phase testing programme.

According to Persaud, the team successfully completed the first two phases over the last few days. These were intended to verify the effectiveness of the modifications to the equipment and control system logic.

“Pilot level flare was attained during the testing and a significant volume of process and mechanical data collected,” she added.

In January this year, Exxon had announced that it was experiencing technical problems with the seal on Liza Destiny’s flash gas compressor, which resulted in Exxon having to increase routine flaring above pilot levels.

The compressor was sent to Germany for repairs at the manufacturer’s, MAN Energy Solutions, workshop and it was found that an “axial vibration” was to blame for its failure.

However, during that period Exxon had been flaring 16 million cubic feet of gas per day.

Additionally, it was announced that Exxon was producing around 120,000 barrels of oil per day (bpd). Before the flaring, production was at 130,000 bpd.

While some have called for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to act, their hands are, in fact, tied since the Liza permit does not contain any penalties for heavy flaring activities.

Nevertheless, the PPP/C government corrected this in the Payara permit and included fines and penalties for such activities that have environmentalists up in arms over the harmful impact of flaring.