The ball is now in ExxonMobil’s court

Dear Editor,

In a letter to Stabroek News published August 6, 2022, Ms. Janelle Persaud, writing in her capacity as Head of Media and Communications for ExxonMobil Guyana, insisted that “Rod Henson, as former Chairman of ExxonMobil Guyana, never signed any document with Dr. Adams, in his capacity as former executive director of the EPA, committed to “unlimited liability coverage including insurance and parent company warranty”, as Dr. Adams asserted. Ms Persaud challenged Dr Adams to “produce the ‘documents’ which he claimed were signed”.

Dr. Adams responded to Ms. Persaud by letter to Stabroek News on August 7, 2022, pointing out very clear language in the amended Liza 2, Payara, Yellowtail and Liza 1 permits. A few days ago, Newsroom Guyana reported ExxonMobil Chairman Alistair Routledge’s insistence that more than adequate insurance exists “for all drilling activity in wells offshore Guyana. .. and that it meets the highest international standards for every well we drill.” Great. Let’s call on Mr. Routledge to show us the documents to that effect, the signature on the dotted line.

Without written proof of this guarantee, it sounds like pie from the sky to Guyanese, or what we might call a lick and a promise. There was a response to the challenge to Dr. Adams, which he responded to. The ball is now very clearly in ExxonMobil’s court. And there are some very simple questions that the Guyanese public deserves answers to. Nothing complicated at all. A yes or a no would suffice:

(1) Do the permits for Liza 2, Payara and Yellowtail (and the amended permit for Liza 1) stipulate that the permit holder must have insurance (section 12.1); that the licensee must provide from parent company or affiliates…one or more legally binding agreement(s) to EPA, committing to provide adequate financial resources to pay…their respective obligations if EEPGL fails to do so not. (section 12.5); and that EEPGL…will be liable for any discharge of pollution regardless of quantity” (Section 12.6)?

(2) Has EEPGL submitted “legally binding agreements” of “parent company or affiliates” to the EPA?

To repeat, there’s really nothing complicated about it. A yes or a no would suffice. We welcome a response from ExxonMobil Chairman Alistair Routledge, but the Environmental Protection Agency, which is supposed to represent the interests of Guyanese, is also expected to respond; it would reassure Guyanese that he understands his mandate and responds to the people of Guyana. The lack of response can only mean one thing: that Liza 1 and 2 are working without meeting the requirements. Guyanese should not be fooled by sweet talk. Promises are cheap. Give us the guarantee in writing as stipulated by the permits.


Alissa Trotz

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