The progress being made by the EPA is commendable. It should be noted that the US Administration has recently, in March this year, increased the social cost of carbon to US$51 per ton. In addition, the fines for methane and nitrous oxide are now at US$1500 and US$18,000 per ton, respectively. The social impact cost of these pollutants is expected to almost double by 2050.
The EPA in the USA will revisit the costs once again next year and the EPA in Guyana should follow suit with annual revisions to the fines imposed on oil and gas producers. The thorough work being done by the US Administration should be benchmarked so as to capture the impact on the lungs of the planet of not just CO2, but also methane and nitrous oxide. Our EPA is in the early stages of development, but this benchmarking process could help it progress much faster in policy development. This will help bring producers back in line with globally acceptable practices to safeguard our environment. Congratulations to the nation’s EPA for taking the first steps towards ensuring the pollution in the oil & gas sector is kept to a minimum.
As for the current contract restrictions in place that may he used to limit new fines from being implemented, it is clear that the permit process must stipulate that without the acceptance of the new fine structure and its annual revisions, no new permit will be issued. This should provide enough grounds upon which to make an amendment to the existing contracts with oil and gas producers such as Exxon. Thus, allowing for the implementation of the new fine structure to existing and new drilling operations.