India experts to help boost Guyana oil spill capabilities

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Guyana’s Vice President Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo said a team of experts from India will be in the South American country in the coming months to strengthen the oil spill capabilities of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). 

He said this would complement the technological advancements made by the agency for offshore monitoring. Last month, the environmental regulator officially signed up with Maxar Technologies for the provision of monitoring services for both offshore and terrestrial applications.

The Vice President said India’s help would also contribute to ensuring Guyana is a regional leader in oil spill prevention and mitigation. As an added boost to its credentials in this regard, the chief policy maker on the oil sector noted that Guyana will soon have a capping stack in the country as per the requirement of ExxonMobil’s Yellowtail Petroleum Production Licence. 

The official said, “Exxon said it was too costly, that it would cost tens of millions of dollars, but this is what we demanded. So, now they need to have one in country and still maintain a subscription. Very few countries have that and so those are progressive measures. We have to deal with any possibility of a spill.”

With the foregoing in mind, the official said the government is of the view that the country’s capabilities have been revolutionised, adding that this will be an ongoing process. 

Jagdeo’s comments were in response to concerns raised by the media about the nation’s capabilities in addressing an oil spill that could affect other regional partners. 

He said the government is doing its best to ensure every possible ground is covered, including securing a guarantee from ExxonMobil Guyana’s parent/affiliate companies for the entire Stabroek Block. 

The Vice President said the EPA has already been instructed to give Exxon a deadline for the provision of the guarantee. In the meantime, he noted that the country has already secured a US$600 million per occurrence coverage from Exxon.

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