– Natural Resources Minister says review should be completed this week
The Government has agreed to an extension of a few days for the consultants evaluating the review done by British firm Bayphase Limited on the Payara project Field Development Plan (FDP).
Natural Resources Minister Vickram Bharrat
This was revealed by Natural Resources Minister Vickram Bharrat in an interview with Guyana Times on Sunday. Previously, the evaluation was supposed to be completed by today but Bharrat revealed that the team of consultants led by former Alberta Premier Allison Redford needed more time.
“The consultant is still working on the examination of the review done by Bayphase. And you would understand that it’s not something we want her to rush through. Her and her team. So, we are hoping that she can wrap up sometime this week,” Bharrat explained.
“She had asked for a little extension, which we were okay with. We didn’t want to rush the process and compromise it in any way. We wanted to ensure we got quality work. So, it’s still on course, it’s still ongoing. We’re hoping it will wrap up shortly.”
Former Alberta Premier Allison Redford
When it comes to ExxonMobil’s environmental issues, Bharrat noted that the consultant is working with regulatory agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC). She has also met with officials from ExxonMobil, in order to resolve outstanding issues.
Payara, which was discovered in 2017, is Exxon’s third potential development project within the Stabroek Block after Liza Phase 1 and 2. The discovery well was drilled in a new reservoir, encountering more than 29 metres of high-quality oil-bearing sandstone reservoirs.
The Payara development plan includes a floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel, named Prosperity. It is expected to produce 220,000 barrels per day, supporting up to 45 wells, including production, water injection and gas injection wells.
Under the former A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) Government, the Energy Department contracted Bayphase to conduct a review of the FDP in December of 2019.
The review was completed but in the wake of the controversies that followed the March 2, 2020 elections, little progress was made on approving the plan. Exxon’s Final Investment Decision (FID) hinges on gaining approval for the development.
Exxon has complained that further delays in granting approval for the project could result in less revenue for Guyana after the project starts up in 2023. But experts have argued that unless Exxon is able to give proper environmental and local content assurances and even improve the terms of its contract with Guyana, approval should be withheld.
Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo had recently explained that because Cabinet lacks the technical capacity, it tapped into an existing Canadian grant to recruit independent experts who would review the work done on Exxon’s Payara project FDP, before granting final approval for the project.
Those experts included Allison Redford, who is a former Attorney General and Premier of Alberta, Canada, and has worked with other groups around the world to conduct similar reviews in nature.
She has served as a World Bank Advisor on Gas Sector Reform in Pakistan and Afghanistan and in other jurisdictions, as they develop new approaches to upstream regulation, transparency and accountability inclusive of community engagement.
As Premier of Alberta, she introduced the Responsible Energy Development Act, which created the Alberta Energy Regulator. The Act sets out rigorous regulation, compliance, and enforcement provisions on all aspects of oil and gas production, including permits and licenses.
Further, she also developed the Canadian Energy Strategy for Canadian First Ministers and the Transition Energy Initiative for the Conference Board of Canada.