Environmental efforts in Guyana

ExxonMobil’s commitment to operating in an environmentally responsible manner is highlighted through our Corporate Environment Policy - Protect Tomorrow. Today. 

Our policy includes a set of expectations guided by a scientific understanding of the environmental impact of our operations balanced with the social and economic needs of the communities in which we operate.

Safeguarding the ability of the environment to provide ecosystem services such as food, water, shelter, clean air and cultural identity is vital. Our approach to managing biodiversity and ecosystem services considers factors such as the rarity of individual species and their roles, vulnerabilities and cultural significance in different ecosystems, and habitats.

ExxonMobil’s fundamental goal everywhere we operate, including Guyana, is to reduce environmental incidents to zero through a process of continuous improvement and the delivery of superior environmental performance. Our Corporate Ethics Policy is to comply with all applicable laws, rules and regulations and we apply standards designed to minimize risks to the environment and society where applicable laws and regulations do not exist.

Frequently asked questions

What is ExxonMobil Guyana doing to further knowledge about biodiversity in Guyana?

Since 2014, we have conducted several studies to assess and monitor biodiversity in Guyana. These include a Coastal Bird Studies to understand the distribution of abundance and diversity of birds along Guyana’s coastline, which identified 19 newly documented coastal bird species in Guyana. ExxonMobil also commissioned a Participatory Fish Study, the first of its kind in Guyana, which has contributed significantly to the existing base of knowledge on the characterization of commercial fish in Guyana. Marine mammal data has been collected offshore since 2015, generating the most comprehensive dataset available on marine mammal activity off the coast of Guyana. Knowledge about Guyana’s biodiversity continues to inform ExxonMobil’s project decisions and activities.

Where can I find documents related to the environmental impact assessments?

Documentation related to the environmental impact, permitting and other aspects of our Guyana operations can be found on the Environmental Permitting section of the Guyana EPA website.

Environmental Impact Assessments:

Emergency Preparedness & Response: 

How are facility production levels established?

The “design capacity” or ”nameplate capacity” of a facility is an operating case that is used to drive investment decisions and typically sets the minimum production capacity needed to make a project viable.  However, a facility’s actual design and its safety systems are capable of accommodating a range of operating scenarios and production levels over the life of the facility, depending on reservoir properties. After a facility starts up, operating data is routinely collected, and the capacities of the facility and its safety systems are periodically re-evaluated to understand whether additional production can be achieved within the facility’s design. These periodic re-evaluations, referred to as production optimization or “debottlenecking” studies, are widely employed in the oil and gas industry to maximize production, within the safety systems’ design. This means that when a facility is operating “above design capacity,” or when production estimates are increased, it does not indicate that a facility is operating above safe production levels.

Coastal birds in Guyana

Reference:  This article is an excerpt of information available in the Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) for the Liza Phase II, Payara and Yellowtail Development Projects. These EIAs can be found on the EPA Guyana’s website at Environmental Protection Agency Guyana (epaguyana.org). 

In order to understand the distribution, abundance, and diversity of birds along Guyana’s coastline during different seasons and years, EMGL commissioned several bird surveys in Regions 2 through 6, between September 2017 and February 2020. This study was the first comprehensive survey of Guyana’s coastline outside of the Shell Beach Protected Area (SBPA), and the first to systematically survey across all seasons (including migratory and non-migratory periods) and years.  A total of 112 sites were surveyed by a team of Guyanese and international bird specialists. The coastal habitat types surveyed included mangrove (riverine and coastal), intertidal and tidal wetlands, mudflats, plantations (island surveys only), vegetated low banks, sand beaches, and artificial coastal habitat types such as sea walls and jetties.

The surveys constituted a notable increase in the knowledge of Guyana’s coastal bird community and documented a total of 225 species and over 109,471 birds across all regions and survey sites. The 225 species included waterbirds (20 species), shorebirds (20 species), nearshore marine birds (13 species), migratory landbirds (12 species), and non-migratory landbirds (160 species). Most of the species documented were previously recorded in Guyana. However, nineteen species were newly documented in the coastal regions of the country. The study also documented clear seasonal patterns in species assemblage and the timing of such, and confirmed overwintering activity by several species whose wintering range is poorly known. Of note was the Red Knot (Calidris canutus; International Union for Conservation of Nature [IUCN] Red List [IUCN 2020] Near Threatened), which was documented in both Fall 2018 and Winter 2019 surveys, and was thereby confirmed for the first time as overwintering in Guyana. 

The results of the study make clear that Guyana’s coastal avifauna is abundant and diverse and changes seasonally and across years. Understanding these patterns is important for impact assessment and emergency response planning as well as conservation and management. With this taken into consideration, EMGL has initiated an additional one-year study which began in September, 2022.

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