Any flaring other than for safety should raise questions, but must be put into context

Dear Editor,
A look at global flaring data provided me with an eye-opening moment. After months of frightening reports of flaring numbers that mean little without context, it was notable, to say the least, to see World Bank numbers on flaring showing Guyana…nowhere. While it is unfortunate that flaring issues related to the compressor continue to this day, it is in no way the existential threat that some in the media have framed it to be. The devil, as they say, is in the details.
When compared to other countries, Guyana did not even make the top 30 on the World Bank’s Global Gas Flaring report. 2019 flaring rates for countries like Nigeria, Algeria, and Russia all dwarf the 10 billion cubic feet of gas said to have been flared here in 2020 by orders of magnitude. Ecuador, dead last on the World Bank’s list, still flared several times what we did last year. Now, any flaring other than for safety should raise questions but it must be put into context of what is happening around the world. Publishing per capita numbers, as some outlets here have chosen to do, is deeply misleading in a small country like ours. That goes double for some reports that have not bothered to convert between cubic feet and cubic metres — sometimes overstating the problem by many times as a result.
As has been said in the past, the teething pains, and operational issues since first oil in December 2019 are not wholly unexpected and have been well documented in the media. But there is still more ExxonMobil must do to address the compressor issues and work to maintain Guyana’s identity as a green country and a carbon sink. The sooner ExxonMobil can make a permanent fix on its compressor, the sooner it can meet its goal of no routine flaring aboard the production ships, the better. I am hopeful that this is much sooner than later and that the lessons learned here will help Exxon avoid a repeat of the same issues in the future.

Donald Singh