Technical team to make recommendations for upgrading Exxon’s compressor
– as oil giant commits to returning flaring to less than 1%
Oil giant ExxonMobil is expecting the technical team at the MAN Energy Solutions workshop in Germany to make recommendations when it comes to the repairs and upgrades to its flash gas compressor, so that the company’s operations offshore Guyana can be returned to normalcy.
In an update provided on Tuesday, Exxon’s Governance and Public Affairs Advisor Janelle Persaud explained that the flash gas compressor is currently being reassembled at the German workshop.
“Over the weekend, the MAN team completed adjustments to achieve the required clearances on the discharge side of the compressor and has started verifications of internal machinery profiles. Technical experts are also finalising near-term recommendations for repair and potential upgrade to the discharge silencer,” she explained.
When it comes to the Liza Destiny Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessel, Persaud explained that Exxon continues to manage production and flare levels, while attempting to maintain a careful balance between sustained production and environmental considerations.
“We continue to provide regular updates to Government and other key stakeholders while also tirelessly working to restore operations and reduce the flare to pilot levels of less than one per cent of the produced gas,” she said.
It was only a few days ago that ExxonMobil had announced that an “axial vibration” was to blame for the failure of its compressor, which had to be shipped to Germany and which had led to the company’s controversial routine flaring offshore Guyana.
In the latter part of January, Esso Exploration & Production Guyana Limited (EEPGL) had announced that it was experiencing technical problems with the seal on Liza Destiny’s flash gas compressor. The problem resulted in Exxon having to reduce its production and also conduct routine flaring.
It was subsequently revealed that Exxon had been flaring 16 million cubic feet of gas per day, an increase from the volume of flaring the company conducted last year which reportedly ranged between 12 and 15 million cubic feet.
It is a situation that Exxon executives have said no one is happy with, even as they work along with the regulatory agencies. Additionally, it was announced that Exxon is currently producing around 120,000 barrels of oil per day (bpd). Before the flaring, production was at 130,000 bpd.
While some have called for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to act, their hands are, in fact, tied. At a recent press conference, Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo had pointed out that Exxon is limited to flaring 14 billion cubic feet of gas.
This is per the approved Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), which means that according to calculations, Exxon wouldn’t reach that flaring ceiling at current levels until the end of April 2021. Nevertheless, he had described the company’s current routine flaring as unacceptable.
However, Jagdeo had noted that by June of 2022, when the Liza 1 permit expires and has to be renewed, Exxon will have to submit to the inclusion of fines in the Liza 1 permit that is similar to what is obtained in the Payara permit.
Additionally, President of the Guyana Oil and Gas Energy Chamber (GOGEC) Manniram Prashad has since described calls from former EPA Director, Dr Vincent Adams for Exxon’s operations to be terminated due to the flaring as “unnecessarily extreme”.
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 had also assured that routine flaring would not be employed.