Beyond the oil find euphoria: Shifting the national focus to our environmental vigilance

EPA Head Dr Vincent Adams

As the national focus continues to shift inexorably from the ‘feel-good’ sensation associated with Guyana becoming an oil-producing nation to some of the more sobering realities of the risks that attend oil recovery, discourse on the country’s oil and gas sector is drifting in the direction of what could go wrong, environmentally that is, and what the consequences might be for the country’s environmental profile.

Late last year the head of the country’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Dr Vincent Adams, went on record as saying that a National Oil Spill Contingency Plan will be on stream by mid-2019.  One of the most critical documents that is supposed to be in place for any emerging petroleum producer like Guyana, will be ready by mid-year.

We are however, at the beginning of April 2019, a juncture at which one would have thought, there may have been forthcoming, a definitive update regarding the state of readiness of the plan. Up to this time there hasn’t been any though both the local environmental body as well as oil and gas-related agencies including ExxonMobil itself, have gone on record as saying that the risk-mitigation efforts relating to an oil spill and the consequences that could flow therefrom, will be in place before the commencement of ‘first oil recovery…..

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