Guyana’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Energy must work closely to support the Government’s policy for the oil and gas sector. This is the view of the newly appointed Director of the EPA, Dr. Vincent Adams, who made these remarks during an interview at his office on Tuesday.
He explained that “The plan is for us to work very closely. We have to be in unison and of one voice on behalf of the Government. We do not want to send mix signals to the contractors or operators and to cause confusion on their part because they are also looking for consistent messages and signals.”
Dr. Adams, who has been on the job for a little over a week, said he has held some discussions with Head of the Department of Energy, Dr. Mark Bynoe on how best the two agencies can work together. He said the staff at both agencies must receive the necessary training and knowledge to function effectively within the emerging petroleum industry. “Our staff must be well coordinated and must be able to work together,” he stated.
Stressing that the key stakeholders in the industry must work together if Guyana is to benefit from the proceeds of oil production, Dr. Adams noted, “I view this whole thing in terms of how we operate with the contractor and among ourselves as a total partnership. It is not they and us. We have the same common objective and so we need to work together to make sure that we all are on the same page.”
US oil major ExxonMobil has found more than 4 billion barrels of oil in the Stabroek Block offshore Guyana. The mammoth oil find comes by way of 9 discoveries the company has made since 2015, in partnership with Hess and CNOOC.
The EPA has already granted permits for the first phase of oil production, set to begin by 2020, and is currently reviewing the application for Liza Phase 2. Following the granting of Environmental Authorization, ExxonMobil and its partners will make their final investment decision for the second phase of development offshore the South American country.