Oil vessel for Exxon’s fourth project not expected to encounter flaring issues – company rep.

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By Vishani Ragobeer

[email protected]

Natural gas flaring is not expected at ExxonMobil’s fourth project called Yellowtail, which is awaiting approval by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a representative of the company stated recently.

Flaring from the Floating, Production, Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessel on ExxonMobil’s first project, Liza 1, has dogged the company, forcing the authorities to implement fines for flaring above the level allowed.

“At Yellowtail specifically, we do have spare compression installed on the FPSOs. If one of those compressors goes down, then we can switch over to the next compressor because we have 100 per cent redundancy,” Steve Laws, a representative for Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Limited (EEPGL), ExxonMobil’s local affiliate said at a public consultation.

He added that other technology would be added to the Yellowtail FPSO to ensure that no excess gas is flared into the atmosphere.

Laws made these statements as he addressed concerns about the threat of natural gas flaring and its effects on the environment. Flaring is a major environmental concern, as it generates harmful greenhouse gases which are responsible for changes in the world’s climate.

In recent months, ExxonMobil had been encountering challenges with a faulty gas compressor aboard the Liza Destiny. This led to unplanned flaring that eventually prompted the company to reduce production.

Subsequently, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) commenced charging the oil company US $45 per tonne of the excess Carbon Dioxide equivalent (CO2e) emitted due to flaring.

Some 250,000 barrels of oil are expected to be produced daily when the Yellowtail development project begins production towards the end of 2025.  Within this project, which would be the largest when it begins, between 41 and 67 oil wells are expected to be drilled.

A vessel capable of holding two million barrels of oil will be used for the project.

During the project’s startup phase, the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) document for Yellowtail  states that some 120 million standard cubic feet of gas could be burnt daily.

But the EIA also stated that the FPSO designed for Yellowtail would be designed to routinely reinject the associated gas that is produced during oil exploration. Consideration was, however, given for gas that would be used as fuel and the pilot (startup) flaring.

As with the Liza Phase One project, the EIA stated that the start-up flaring was necessary until the compression and reinjection systems are fully operational. Thereafter, the flaring will be controlled by ExxonMobil’s equipment.

Editor’s note: Statements made by the representative of ExxonMobil were initially attributed to Mr. Erik DeMicco by the News Room. It was later clarified that Mr. Steve Laws was using Mr. DeMicco’s Zoom account during the consultations and it was in fact, Mr Laws who made the statements.

The News Room apologises for any inconvenience caused.

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