Guyana better prepared for oil spill response

Guyana is in a better position to respond effectively, should there be an oil spill offshore, following a number of oil spill exercises conducted by the Civil Defence Commission (CDC) with support from the United States (US) Coast Guard.

Guyana has also developed a National Oil Spill Contingency Plan, and has conducted a series of virtual and practical onshore and offshore simulation exercises. Some 231 persons benefitted from those training, including 135 men and 96 women from over 30 organisations.

Preparedness and Response Manager, Major Salim October

On June 6, the CDC held a simple ceremony to mark the completion of those exercises aimed at enhancing Guyana’s national response system to oil spills.

CDC’s Preparedness and Response Manager, Major Salim October said the capacity building exercise has prepared Guyana to identify oil spill hazards, and respond to incidents and impacts effectively.

“The suite, of training was strategic and tailored to all phases of oil spill management and response, as well as role specific, and these included fundamental of remote sensing and introduction to synthetic aperture radar, oil spill response and the unseen coordinator role, oil spill risk assessment, exercise programme management, shoreline clean up and assessment techniques, and oil wildlife management,” he stated.

United States Ambassador to Guyana Sarah-Ann Lynch

US Ambassador to Guyana, Sarah-Ann Lynch in her address, said the training facilitated by the US Coast Guard focused on safety, security and environmental protection. She noted that the US supports the responsible development and use of natural resources as oil production presents enormous benefits for the people of Guyana. She relayed that Guyana’s oil production is transforming the country.

“We are committed to providing the tools to Guyana to enhance its capacity in this area, and it is a sign of our commitment to regional security and environmental protection,” she stated.

Scenes from the oil spill response simulation exercise

On average, Guyana produces over 100,000 barrels of oil per day, and is set to increase to as many as 257,000 barrels per day on average when the Liza Unity floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) begins production. From January 1, 2020 to March 31, 2022, Guyana earned US $719, 525, 975.5 from its oil resource.

In March, Prime Minister Brigadier (R’td) Mark Phillips disclosed that government is committed to acquiring equipment to prepare the country in the event of an oil spill, and government will also ensure that the right personal protective equipment is made available to those responding to oil spills.

Scenes from the oil spill response simulation exercise

“What we don’t need is we are faced with a disaster and we do not have the right equipment, we do not have the right PPEs, and therefore, people are putting on the PPEs for the first time at the time of the disaster. So, we have to focus now on getting the right PPEs… and have people wear them and experience the comfort or discomfort that comes with wearing them and utilising the equipment,” the Prime Minister had explained.