After intense discussions with Guyana’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on permits for exploratory works at its Yellowtail-1 Well in the offshore Stabroek Block, ExxonMobil’s subsidiary, EEPGL was yesterday granted a permit after documented assurances that it will meet the insurance and other requirements stipulated by the EPA.
“After some extensive, but good faith negotiations, I am happy that the EPA was able to grant EEPGL its final permit for drilling the Yellowtail- 1 exploration well, while at the same time avoiding any costly delays in drilling of the well. This permit is a major breakthrough in establishing the template for all future offshore drilling permits”, Head of the EPA Dr. Vincent Adams told Stabroek News last evening.
“Yes the future permits refers to the Liza-2 development,” he added when asked specifically about the Liza-2 development.
This means that the company has given the country the “assurance” to provide for liabilities over and above the US$2.4b sum covered by its insurance providers, Adams explained.
Stabroek News had yesterday reported that concerns about liability coverage in the event of oil spills and other accidents, and meeting local insurance requirements were yet to be resolved between ExxonMobil and the EPA, resulting in a stalling of works at the company’s Stabroek Block.
This newspaper was told that the EPA had continued to hold off on the issuing of permits and drilling at ExxonMobil’s next well, the Yellowtail-1, could be hampered should the issues not be resolved soon. Following its latest oil finds at the Tilapia-1 and Haimara-1 wells which brought the total number of discoveries on the offshore Stabroek Block to 12, ExxonMobil announced last month that the Noble Tom Madden drillship will next drill the Yellowtail-1 well, approximately six miles west of Tilapia-1. Baseline 4-D seismic data gathering is underway, the company had said in a statement on February 6. Permits for the Liza-2 well development were also snared over insurance and other concerns.