EPA makes approval of Exxon’s 5th development conditional on EIA
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has given oil giant ExxonMobil a mandate to submit an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for its fifth project Uaru, as a precondition before deciding whether to grant regulatory approval.
In a notice seen by this newscast, the EPA announced that a decision was made to require an EIA for the project. This decision is based on the fact that implementing the project may have effects on the environment.
“The proposed project will be implemented in multiple stages which include the following activities: well drillings and completions, mobilisation and installation of subsea equipment, umbilicals, risers and flowlines (SURF), installation of a floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) facility, production operations, and decommissioning.”
“The proposed project will be undertaken in the marine offshore environment and would require land-based activities for support activities at marine shorebases,” the agency further explained, citing the possible impacts.
According to the EPA, these possible effects include impacts to water and air quality, as well as socio economic resources. It was explained that this Environmental Impact Assessment must be submitted before the agency can decide to approve or reject the project.
An invitation was also extended for the public to make submissions to the agency on the project, within 28 days. According to the EPA, these submissions should set out questions and issues to be raised in the EIA.
The Uaru project would follow Exxon’s four other projects… Liza 1 and 2, the Payara and Yellowtail projects… all of which have so far been approved. Production of oil has already started on the first two projects, while Payara is expected to start up in 2023 and Yellowtail in 2025.
In January 2020, ExxonMobil announced that Uaru-1 was the 16th discovery in the Stabroek Block. The well encountered approximately 94 feet (29 metres) of high-quality oil-bearing sandstone reservoir and was drilled in 6342 feet (1933 metres) of water.
In April 2021, Uaru-2 was announced by the oil giant. Drilling at Uaru-2 encountered approximately 120 feet (36.7 metres) of high-quality oil-bearing reservoirs including newly identified intervals below the original Uaru-1 discovery. The well was drilled in 5659 feet (1725 metres) of water and is located approximately 6.8 miles (11 kilometres) south of the Uaru-1 well.
The Stabroek Block is 6.6 million acres (26,800 square kilometres). ExxonMobil affiliate, Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Limited (EEGPL) is operator and holds 45 per cent interest in the Stabroek Block. Hess Guyana Exploration Limited holds 30 per cent interest and CNOOC Petroleum Guyana Limited, a wholly-owned subsidiary of CNOOC Limited, holds 25 per cent interest.
Hess has said there is potential for at least six FPSOs on the Stabroek Block in 2027, with a production capacity of more than 1 million gross barrels of oil per day and up to 10 FPSOs to develop the discovered resources on the block.
Current production at the Liza Phase 1 development is 130,000 barrels of oil per day, ahead of its original gross nameplate capacity, and this is expected to increase to 140,000 bpd during this quarter, following production optimisation work on the Liza Destiny FPSO.
The Liza Phase 2 development, which achieved its first oil in February using the Unity FPSO, is ramping up ahead of schedule, and is expected to reach its gross production capacity of approximately 220,000 barrels of oil per day by the third quarter. (G3)