Guyana Environmental Impact Assessment Gas to Energy Project - November 2022
The Government of Guyana is pursuing a separate project to construct a power plant (the Power Plant) that will use a portion of this associated natural gas as a fuel source. Accordingly, EEPGL, at the request of the Government of Guyana, is proposing the Project to provide fuel for the Power Plant.
The Project will involve capturing associated gas produced from crude oil production operations on the Liza Phase 1 (Destiny) and Liza Phase 2 (Unity) Floating, Production, Storage, and Offloading (FPSO) vessels, transporting approximately 50 million standard cubic feet per day (MMscfd; 1.4 million standard cubic meters per day [MMsm 3 /d]) of rich gas via a subsea pipeline and then an onshore pipeline to a natural gas liquids (NGL) processing plant (NGL Plant), treating the gas to remove NGLs for sale to third parties, and ultimately delivering dry gas meeting government specifications for use at the Power Plant.
The purpose of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is to provide the factual and technical basis required by the EPA to make an informed decision on EEPGL’s Application for Environmental Authorisation for the Project. EEPGL conducted a robust public consultation program to both inform the public about the Project and to understand community and stakeholder concerns so this feedback could be incorporated and addressed in the EIA, as applicable.
The primary components of the Project include new connections to the existing Destiny and Unity FPSOs, an offshore pipeline, an onshore pipeline, an NGL Plant, and various ancillary facilities. These ancillary facilities include a temporary worker camp, a temporary material offloading facility (MOF), and a heavy haul road. The Project will use existing third-party support facilities such as shorebases, fabrication facilities, fuel supply facilities, and waste management facilities. The Project will also use ground-based vehicles, marine and riverine vessels, and helicopters to provide logistics support throughout all Project stages. EEPGL will use proven and good international industry practices and has incorporated many embedded controls into the overall Project design to reduce environmental and socioeconomic impacts.
Construction will begin as soon as possible after receiving all necessary authorizations (with a target date of August 2022 for start of NGL Plant site preparation) and will take approximately 3 years. The combined offshore and onshore pipeline system is targeted to be ready to deliver rich gas by end of 2024, and the NGL Plant is targeted to be operational by mid-2025. The Project has a planned life cycle of at least 25 years).
The Project is expected to employ up to 800 workers at peak during the Construction stage, approximately 40 full-time equivalents workers during the Operations stage, and approximately 50 workers during the Decommissioning stage.
The planned Project activities are predicted to have Negligible to Moderate impacts on physical resources, Negligible to Moderate impacts on biological resources, and Negligible to Moderate impacts on socioeconomic resources-with a number of positive impacts on socioeconomic conditions.
In the case of physical resources, the higher significance ratings stem from potential Construction-stage impacts related to potential noise and dust impacts on residential properties in the portions of the onshore pipeline construction corridor that will be in close proximity to existing communities or isolated residences (approximately 3.5 kilometers of the approximately 25-kilometer onshore pipeline corridor).
In the case of biological resources, the higher significance ratings stem from potential Construction-stage impacts related to mortality and injury of marine benthic organisms from offshore pipeline installation.
In the case of socioeconomic resources, the higher significance ratings stem from potential impacts from infrequent and short-term periods of noise during the Construction and Operations stages, potentially leading to increased stress-related mental health impacts for nearby residents. For cultural heritage resources, the higher significance rating will only apply if the Project is unable to avoid removal of the silk cotton tree identified in the temporary pipeline right-of-way (RoW) at Kilometer Point 4.1.
The significance ratings of these potential impacts are reduced through the suite of embedded controls that will be incorporated into the Project design and execution. These same embedded controls contribute to the lower significance ratings for the other potential impacts assessed for planned Project activities. Additionally, the Consultants have recommended a suite of mitigation measures to reduce potential impact significance to as low as reasonably practicable. Unplanned events, such as a vessel fuel spill or a loss of integrity of Project infrastructure resulting in a fire or explosion, are considered unlikely to occur due to the extensive preventive measures employed by EEPGL; nevertheless, events such as these are considered in this assessment. The types of resources that would potentially be impacted and the extent of the impacts on those resources would depend on the nature and location of an unplanned event, as well as the ambient conditions (e.g., wind speed/direction, river flow conditions). The EIA describes (1) modeling of fuel spill scenarios to evaluate a range of possible spill trajectories and rates of travel, and (2) modeling of loss of process infrastructure integrity scenarios to evaluate a range of potential consequences from such an event.
Based on the limited volume of fuel that would likely be released to the environment in the unlikely event of a marine fuel spill from one of the offshore pipeline installation vessels or a support vessel, and the fact that marine diesel would weather (i.e., evaporate, degrade, and partition to the water column) very rapidly once in the ambient environment, the impacts from this type of an event would be expected to be short-term and limited in extent. Socioeconomic resources (e.g., to fisheries or shorelines) would only be expected if the spill occurred in the nearshore/shore crossing segments of the offshore pipeline.
In the case of a riverine spill, the same limited spill volume and rapid weathering would reduce the level and extent of potential impact. However, the constrained geography within the Demerara River would lead to a high likelihood of shoreline impact, with the length of shoreline oiled being a function of spill location and ambient river conditions (i.e., flow volume and tidal stage) at the time of the spill. This event, assuming a spill of the nature reflected in the modeled scenario, would therefore have a high likelihood of affecting biological and socioeconomic resources in the Demerara River and potentially along the shoreline adjacent to the river. The magnitude of impact for either a marine or riverine fuel spill would depend on the volume and duration of the release as well as the time of year at which the release was to occur (e.g., whether a spill would coincide with the time of year when biological resources are more abundant in the area affected by the spill). Effective implementation of EEPGL’s Oil Spill Response Plan (OSRP; Volume III, Management Plans, of the EIA) would reduce the risk to resources primarily by efforts to protect shorelines from oiling.
With respect to a potential loss of integrity of Project infrastructure leading to a release of hydrocarbons-and potentially a fire or explosion-the EIA included a preliminary analysis of the potential consequences of such an event, including evaluation of multiple scenarios that could lead to an accidental release of hydrocarbons. The highest risk associated with this type of event would be associated with the portions of the onshore pipeline segment located in close proximity to communities (i.e., where human receptors would have the highest likelihood of being affected by the event). As with a potential fuel spill, EEPGL’s primary focus is on prevention of such an event through the rigorous design, construction, and operations procedures that will be put in place. However, in the unlikely situation that such an event occurs, EEPGL will have an Emergency Response Plan (see the Environmental and Socioeconomic Management and Monitoring Plan [ESMMP] in Volume III, Management Plans, of the EIA) in place prior to introduction of natural gas into Project infrastructure, and EEPGL will conduct regular training and drills to facilitate Project readiness to address an emergency event of this nature.
Additional unplanned events, the likelihood of which are reduced due to the preventive measures that will be employed, could include a loss of integrity of the offshore pipeline; collisions between Project vessels and non-Project vessels; Project vessel strikes of marine mammals, marine turtles, riverine mammals, or rafting marine birds; collisions between Project vehicles and non-Project vehicles; and a release of untreated wastewater from the NGL Plant. The impact extent from these types of events would depend on the exact nature of the event.
However, in addition to reducing the likelihood of occurrence, the embedded controls that EEPGL will put in place if such an event were to occur (e.g., training of vessel operators to recognize and avoid marine mammals, riverine mammals, and marine turtles; adherence to international and local marine navigation procedures; adherence to Road Safety Management Procedure) would also serve to reduce the likely extent of impact.
It is recommended that all of EEPGL’s planned embedded controls, as well as the mitigation measures described herein, and appropriate ESMMP components, including an OSRP (Volume III of the EIA), be adopted. With the adoption of such controls, mitigation measures, and management plans, and requirements for emergency response preparedness, the Project is expected to pose only manageable risks to the environmental and socioeconomic resources of Guyana, while potentially offering significant economic benefits to the residents of Guyana.