EPA to hear public views on ExxonMobil’s proposed 12-well drilling campaign

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has decided to hear public appeals against its decision to waive an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for US oil company, ExxonMobil’s proposed 12-well drilling campaign in the Canje block.

The Environmental Assessment Board has scheduled the public hearing for October 14, 2021 at 2:00pm, at its Sophia office.

The Canje block is operated by ExxonMobil’s local affiliate, Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Limited (EEPGL), with partners – Total, JHI Associates and Mid-Atlantic Oil and Gas.

“In accordance with Section 18 (3) of the Environmental Protection Act, Cap. 20:05, Laws of Guyana, the EAB shall conduct public hearings into all appeals submitted against the EPA’s decision not to require an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the project.

The Public Hearing will involve representations from the appellants, the developer and other key stakeholders; after which, the EAB will deliberate on the findings and prepare a report with its decision confirming or setting aside the EPA’s decision,” the notice stated.

The EPA decided to have the hearing after public pushback against its decision not to conduct the EIA. It was determined that the campaign would not significantly impact the environment.

In the project summary published by the EPA for the proposed project in the Canje block, it is stated that “The same processes that have been safely and successfully used for the exploration wells authorised and drilled to date by EEPGL… including mobilisation, drilling, ancillary processes… and demobilisation will also be followed…”

ExxonMobil has already executed successful drilling campaigns offshore Guyana, which resulted in the company making over 20 significant, commercial hydrocarbon discoveries in the Stabroek block. These discoveries add up to an estimate exceeding nine billion oil-equivalent barrels.