Guyana needs greater waste management capacity

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…as oil production ramps up offshore

By Lisa Hamilton

With additional FPSO vessels, drillships and other marine support vessels coming to Guyana as a result of oil production, waste volumes will considerably increase. Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Limited (EEPGL), a subsidiary of ExxonMobil, has expressed that Guyana does not yet have long-term options for dealing with the expected increase of waste to come from the industry.

EEPGL is looking to the Haags Bosch Landfill for a short-term solution and Tiger Rentals Guyana (TRG) for additional support. Howeve, it advises that, soon, long-term solutions must be made available or there could be negative physical, biological and socio-economic impacts.

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Only recently, the Liza Unity FPSO, designed to produce approximately 220,000 barrels of oil per day, arrived in the Stabroek Block offshore Guyana for early 2022 start-up. It will be utilised for the Liza Phase 2 Development and will add to the capacity of the Liza Destiny FPSO being utilised for the Liza Phase 1 Development.

Not long after, the Payara project is expected to commence producing up to 220,000 barrels of oil per day after startup in 2024, using the Prosperity FPSO. These production vessels are apart from the multiple drillships offshore Guyana and other support vessels at work even as the country is still only at the beginning stage of its oil and gas production journey.

For the Payara Project EEPGL has developed a Cradle to Grave Waste Analysis Study (Study) to provide a beginning-to-end overview of waste generation and management from EEPGL projects in Guyana. This is in keeping with the requirements of the Payara Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Environmental Permit.

From the get-go, one crucial fact that has been pointed out in the Study is that EEPGL and its contractors need reliable avenues to manage large amounts of waste early on or this could pose problems.

Wastes streams generated offshore generally originate from five processes: drilling, installation, production, marine and accommodations. However, there are also a variety of wastes generated from onshore support operations, including those of the shore bases, waste management facilities, and other land-based operations.

While there are offshore waste management methods, onshore waste management methods are also used. Regarding the latter, the wastes generated from the drillships, FPSO, and infrastructure operations are all subsequently offloaded and transferred to other marine vessels for transport to the GYSBI (Guyana Shore Base Inc.) or G-Port shore base.

The waste is then transferred to TRG for treatment or to a temporary transit area adjacent to TRG until it is able to receive the waste. Subsequently, TRG transports treated non-hazardous wastes received or generated from its operations from GYSBI directly to the HBL for disposal.

The Study states: “At present, there is currently a limited number of onshore waste service providers of hazardous and non-hazardous waste management in Guyana.” TRG, which is located at GYSBI, is currently the primary provider of hazardous and non-hazardous waste services to EEPGL projects.

Eccles landfill

Meanwhile, the Government-owned HBL in Eccles East, Bank Demerara (EBD) is the only engineered sanitary landfill in Guyana. Not only is it the current destination for most municipal and commercial solid non-hazardous waste generated from the greater Georgetown area, but all non-hazardous solid wastes generated to date from the EEPGL projects have been disposed at the HBL.

The Study indicates that the original disposal cell (Cell 1) is at 99 per cent capacity and EEPGL is now looking to Cell 2, which started operations in late March 2021, for future waste management. However, it was noted that at current disposal rates, Cell 2 will have approximately 4 to 6 years of disposal capacity. The facility currently receives approximately 500 tons of waste per day.

“Opening the Haags Bosch Landfill Cell 2 will provide adequate short term disposal capacity, but a longer-term strategy needs to be evaluated and implemented. Consideration of an engineered landfill for industrial waste needs to be evaluated,” EEPGL recommended in the Study.

The total waste volume anticipated for 2021 is approximately 8,000 tonnes and includes all hazardous and non-hazardous wastes. Approximately 6,000 tonnes per year of total wastes are projected to be generated in both 2022 and 2023.

Both TRG and HBL are also not completely reliable, according to EEPGL. The Study indicated that TRG has “very limited space available” for non-hazardous waste storage and therefore, any unplanned shutdown or operational challenges at the HBL could disrupt TRG operations.

One alternative being used is the use of an additional location at GYSBI for emergency storage of up to 1,000 tonnes of treated non-hazardous waste in the event of an unplanned shutdown or operational challenges at the HBL.

EEPGL also utilizes the services of Eternity Investment Inc. (EII), a scrap metal consolidation and exporting facility; Liquid Mud Plants (LMPs), a cement and drilling fluids facility and Sustainable Environmental Solutions Guyana, Inc. (SES), for offshore waste management.

EEPGL has been working with the EPA and the Ministry of Communities to develop strategies to improve onshore waste management capacity.

“Existing and near future planned waste facility infrastructure in Guyana is expected to meet the near term requirements for offshore oil and gas development over the next 2 to 3 years. Further, the existing waste facility infrastructure at TRG and SES can also be expanded to include more waste treatment and processing units to meet project needs. However, there are several areas where the existing or near-future planned waste facility infrastructure may become potentially limited in meeting future waste management needs of Guyana,” the Study stated.

It has therefore recommended that new landfill development in the region may be appropriate for consideration going forward. These developments could include the potential for further expansion of HBL and/or the development of a new landfill which could be examined in a Cost-Benefit Analysis (CBA).

Recommended to is that any future municipal wastewater treatment, like the Guyana Water Inc., include in its planning efforts provisions to accept commercial and industrial wastewaters for treatment.

It was suggested too that waste oil recycling options are needed in Guyana to address the growing volumes generated from consumer vehicles, industrial generators, marine vessels, and the oil and gas industry.

EEPGL stated that this is even as it and its contractors have implemented a number of steps to minimize the generation of waste that require treatment and disposal.



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