ExxonMobil cuts oil production, faulty compressor valve sent for repair

Flaring on Liza Destiny

United States oil giant, ExxonMobil has reduced its production of oil in order to lower the level of flaring on the Liza Destiny FPSO (Floating, Production, Storage and Offloading) vessel.
Last week, the oil major disclosed that it was experiencing a technical issue with a seal on Liza Destiny’s gas compressor, which resulted in them having to temporarily increase flaring above pilot levels in order to maintain safe operations.
In a statement on Friday, Exxon said a technical team safely removed the third stage compressor from the package enclosure on the Liza Destiny and is preparing it for transport onshore.

Exxon’s Liza Destiny flaring (Annette Arjoon photo)

According to the oil company, an initial examination determined that the unit has to be sent for repairs in Germany where it is expected to arrive on February 9. It was further noted that the full extent of the damage will not be known until a detailed inspection of the compressor can take place at the workshop of the manufacturer, MAN Turbo in Germany.
“I wish to assure you that teams of experts from ExxonMobil, SBM Offshore and MAN Turbo are working diligently to fix the compressor and return it to service as quickly as possible,” President of ExxonMobil Guyana Alistair Routledge said.
He went onto say that “We have lowered production levels on the Liza Destiny since the compressor failed and continue to seek ways to reduce flaring. We are currently injecting or using 88 per cent of the gas produced from the wells. We share a common interest in responsible management and appropriate standards for development of the country’s natural resources.”
The oil major said it is providing daily updates to the relevant Government agencies.
However, when asked by how much production has been reduced, Exxon’s Public and Government Affairs Advisor, Janelle Persaud, told reporters via a media group that she cannot disclose that but noted that the figure has been passed onto the Government.
Nevertheless, Exxon is expected to facilitate a virtual media backgrounder on Monday.
Only less than a year ago, the oil giant came under fire for heavy flaring, which has negative effects on the environment and has had environmentalists up in arms over the harmful exercise.
In fact, in recent days, local environmentalist Annette Arjoon has been vocal on social media about the oil major recommencing heavy flaring offshore. She said she is “sickened” by the oil major’s actions and saddened by them not being held accountable as yet.
“In a time of a global climate emergency and especially when Guyana is expecting to continue its Low Carbon Development pathway. This environmentally criminal flaring is taking us down a More Carbon Development Pathway,” Arjoon stated in one of her posts.
However, Natural Resources Minister Vickram Bharrat told Guyana Times that while the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is monitoring the flaring activities and dealing with the environmental implications, his Ministry has been working with the oil company’s technical team to properly assess the issue and determine how soon it can be fixed.
Last year, in response to the flaring which lasted over one year, Exxon had also cut back on oil production in an effort to reduce flaring after the fuel injection system was not commissioned. It subsequently commissioned a gas injection system to cut out flaring.
Back in December on the oil company’s first year anniversary since commencing production in 2019, Routledge had expressed disappointment at the equipment issues they experienced and assured that routine flaring would not be used.
“ExxonMobil Guyana is committed to the responsible development of the country’s natural resources and will not utilise routine flaring during our operations,” Routledge explained in the statement.
“We are disappointed by the number of equipment issues experienced and that, because of these issues and COVID-19, commissioning of the gas injection system took longer than originally projected. We took significant steps to limit flaring and are incorporating lessons learned for future projects.”
Nevertheless, the PPP/C Government made its position pellucid on routine flaring and in the Payara Development Licence, prohibited the activity unless approval is granted by the Environmental Protection Agency.
“Flaring to maintain oil production will not be permitted. Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Limited (EEPGL) will pay the Government for the cost of gas wasted during flaring and will also be subject to fines under the EPA related to emissions from flaring,” the Natural Resources Ministry had stated back in October. EEPGL is Exxon’s local affiliate, which along with other partners are operating in the Stabroek Block. (G8)