Under its commitment to environmental protection, ExxonMobil Guyana on Tuesday conducted a quarterly Preventative Maintenance activity on its Oil Spill Response Crucial Kit equipment at the GYSBI shore base.

This exercise aims to ensure that there is adequate in-country response capacity in the unlikely event of an oil spill.

The team conducted visual inspections of the containment boom and skimmer packages, as well as the oil dispersant stockpile, to ensure that all systems were in place for rapid deployment in case of emergency.

Within the oil spill emergency response scope, equipment such as the boom and skimmer are integral tools that facilitate containment and recovery.

Booms are temporary floating barriers that help to slow the spread of oil within a water area. This phase of containment enables the skimmer, which is a mechanical device that ‘skims’ the surface area to remove the oil.

ExxonMobil’s Emergency Response and Preparedness Advisor, Ryan Singh, engaged with the Department of Public Information (DPI) following a tour of the company’s stored dispersants at its GYSBI Shore-base & Annex, where he explained that the exercise is conducted quarterly.

“These activities were being conducted by a local vendor, EnerMech. Overall, a lot of eyes are on our projects and our preventative maintenance, and they are saying positive things,” he said.

The advisor continued, “We also did inspections on our dispersant stockpile. We recently improved the total quantities since we have more projects coming into Guyana, and we had to update the amount,” he explained.

Dispersants are chemical agents that are poured into the water to break down oil elements into smaller droplets, so they can be easily diluted. This minimises any environmental impacts from the spill.

“Dispersants are also very important in the whole response effort. We have dispersants placed on our marine vessels for a quick response. We have some at the GYSBI main base, as well as some at our annexe,” Singh added.

Representatives from the Environmental Protection Agency, the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC), and the Ministry of Natural Resources were all present for the exercise and gave it their stamp of approval.

Devika Samaroo, Environmental Officer within the oil and gas department at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), reminded that the agency’s mandate is to regulate development in such a way that is environmentally friendly but does not stymie the country’s development. Hence, their observation of the exercise is with a vested interest in ensuring that there are adequate provisions for swift oil spill response.

“We were here to see the fulfilment of a permit condition coming out of one of the Payara production permits, where the developer was required to have a stockpile of dispersants at hand. Based on what we have seen, it is really good,” she said.

Clive Williams, a representative from the Ministry of Natural Resources, expressed similar sentiments, saying “These are minimal operational requirements that the operators are expected to show in terms of their capability to respond to emergencies, and I think they have demonstrated that.” [DPI]