Unlikely Guyana will experience an oil spill – Exxon Country Manager

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Speaking from a statistical point of view, Country Manager of Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Limited (EEPGL), Rod Henson says that it is unlikely that Guyana will experience an oil spill.

“We believe at ExxonMobil that you can never have enough training… The time of an emergency, [is] not the time to learn. That’s the time to act…

“I hope you understand [that] we at ExxonMobil and our contractors go to great lengths to ensure that there is no oil spill, to ensure that that never happens. Significant spills are extremely rare and, statistically, it is very unlikely that there would be a large spill in Guyana. However, to be prudent, we have to be prepared,” Henson was quoted as saying by the Ministry of the Presidency.

Henson was at the time delivering remarks at the Incident Command System (ICS) Workshop for oil-related disaster preparedness, organised by the Civil Defence Commission (CDC) on Monday. The workshop was facilitated by representatives from ExxonMobil.

According to the Ministry, Henson said that the benefits of Guyana’s imminent oil and gas sector still far outweigh the risks.

“What’s happening in Guyana is very positive. These oil finds, I believe, are going to benefit the country to improve the quality of life, but it can’t be at any cost… at ExxonMobil, we’re doing everything we can to ensure that [an oil spill] doesn’t happen.

“We have multiple redundancies in our equipment. We have well-trained people… We have… contracts with absolutely every piece of equipment that exists in the world today that would help deal [with] a response and we have contracts with the best experts in the world as well,” Henson was quoted as saying.

Meanwhile, Minister of State, Joseph Harmon, in his remarks, said that the workshop targets agencies, which will be instrumental in the timely and organised response to the unlikely eventuality that there is such a disaster and is aimed at ensuring that Guyana is fully prepared to mitigate its effects.

26 representatives from 21 agencies across Guyana attended the Incident Command System (ICS) Workshop, conducted by the Civil Defence Commission (CDC).
(Ministry of the Presidency photo)

“These courses are part of Government’s partnership with ExxonMobil to create an enabling environment for persons to benefit from various forms of training, relevant to the oil and gas sector. They are very important capacity building exercises that will enable us to respond promptly and adequately with [synchrony] to oil spills and other adverse occurrences,” Minister Harmon was quoted as saying.

It was noted that the six-day training course will be split up into two parts. Part one is the ICS Workshop, which will allow participants to define their agency’s roles while developing an organised structure for disaster response.

Part two is the Oil Spill Response Course, which will provide a more practical approach to oil spill response.

Director General (ag) of the CDC, Lieutenant Colonel Kester Craig said that the training sessions ensure that all stakeholders submit to the same response protocol in case of an emergency.

“The course provides the operational environment for coordination of effort so that all responders are using the same standardised terminology, interoperable technologies, organisational structure and management techniques.

“This allows any responder to have a common expectation and understanding of how agencies and departments will organise when working together in response to an incident. This commonality of knowledge, structure, and function provides a level of functionality that is able to expand and interact as the needs of the situation demands,” he said.

The workshop hosted 26 representatives from 21 agencies including the Ministries of Natural Resources, Legal Affairs, Public Infrastructure, Agriculture, Public Health and Foreign Affairs, as well as the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA), the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC), and Guyana Civil Aviation Authority. Part two of the workshop will and be held at Splashmins Resort from April 26 – 28.

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