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Exxon’s Whiptail project will raise Guyana’s emissions by 34% – EIA

Exxon’s Whiptail project will raise Guyana’s emissions by 34% – EIA

ExxonMobil, News, Oil & Gas

Kaieteur News – The emissions which will come from ExxonMobil’s sixth project will increase greenhouse gas emissions by 34%, according to an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). The Whiptail project, with anticipated costs nearing US$13 billion, is currently being examined by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Part of the regulator’s job is to determine whether the impact the project will have on Guyana is manageable, and decide whether to grant an environmental permit.

Expected to begin in 2028, the projected augmentation of Guyana’s annual carbon dioxide equivalent emissions by approximately 34% is striking. Most of these emissions stem from specific point sources like diesel combustion from power generating units, drill ships, and the floating production storage and offloading vessel (FPSO). Another contributor is general sources of diesel combustion, such as marine support vessels and helicopters.

In terms of numbers, the total estimated annual greenhouse gas emissions during its construction phase are forecasted to leap from 150 kilotons per year in 2024 and 2026, reaching 2,580 kilotons per year from 2027 to 2029. Once operational, the project is slated to produce about 1,620 kilotons of greenhouse gas emissions annually.

However, Guyana has significant carbon sink capacity, as more than 80% of its land mass is covered in forests. They play a pivotal role in capturing carbon, eliminating a staggering 154 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2e) annually. This makes the country a crucial environmental asset, capturing more carbon from the atmosphere than it releases.

Even when considering ExxonMobil’s projected peak emission year in 2028, with an estimated 9,700 kilotons of emissions, this surge would represent just about 5.3% of Guyana’s carbon sink capacity. While there is no denying that projects like Whiptail contribute to increased greenhouse gas emissions, Guyana’s robust carbon sink plays a pivotal role in balancing out these emissions, ensuring that the nation remains a net positive contributor to global efforts against climate change.

The Whiptail project will target a daily oil production of about 250,000 barrels, with the FPSO having the ability to store 2 million barrels of oil. ExxonMobil has already submitted its environmental impact assessment to the government for approval, and will submit a field development plan (FDP) later this year.

Even though the Cumulative Impact Assessment done by Exxon is considering the environmental impacts of 7 projects, ExxonMobil may even pursue 10 projects in all. It has said that there is potential for as many as 10 projects to develop the 11 billion barrels of recoverable resource discovered in the Stabroek Block offshore Guyana.

Vice President, Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo, has also said that Guyana needs 10 FPSOs to keep the economic momentum going for the government’s development agenda. He said that Guyana needs to have its oil resource extracted as quickly as possible and then convert it into monetary assets before the world transitions and there is no more need for oil.

He has said Guyana needs the money to build a more sustainable economy. Officials have said that even with 10 FPSOs operating offshore Guyana, the emissions that would be generated from those projects would not stop Guyana being a carbon sink.