Guyana: Satellites will spot oil spills, not on-ship experts

Jan 24, 2023, 5:39 PM | Updated: Jan 25, 2023, 7:44 am
File - Georgetown, Guyana is seen over the propeller of a plane headed to Kaieteur Falls, Guyana, M...

File - Georgetown, Guyana is seen over the propeller of a plane headed to Kaieteur Falls, Guyana, March 7, 2016. The former leader of Guyana’s Environmental Protection Agency, Vincent Adams, is criticizing the government's plan to use satellites to monitor oil spills in the South American nation’s waters, saying to the Associated Press on Jan. 24, 2023 that the only proper way of minimizing oil spills is to put spill-prevention experts onboard drilling ships and platforms. (AP Photo/Albert Stumm, File)

(AP Photo/Albert Stumm, File)

GEORGETOWN, Guyana (AP) — Guyana’s Environmental Protection Agency says it can now use satellites to monitor any oil spills in the South American nation’s waters. The agency’s former leader criticized the technology as ineffective, saying the only proper way of minimizing oil spills is to put spill-prevention experts onboard drilling ships and platforms.

Vincent Adams, who led Guyana’s EPA for three years up to 2020 after a 30-year career as an environmental engineer at the U.S. Department of Energy, said satellites can only help draw attention to an oil spill after it has begun spoiling the sea.

“By then this could already be too late. You need experts on board monitoring what is going on 24-7 or we are wasting time. A satellite will tell you what happens after we have a spill that could devastate neighboring countries,” Adams told The Associated Press on Tuesday.

Guyana’s EPA put out a statement Tuesday saying it has contracted with MAXAR Technologies in Colorado to enable real-time environmental monitoring of two offshore oilfields developed by an international consortium led by ExxonMobil, Hess Corporation and China’s National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC). The agency said the view from space would detect oil spills and slicks, both offshore and onshore.

Exxon and the consortium have applied to develop four more oil fields over the next five years, raising more concerns from rights groups and environmentalists about the effects of spills on the Caribbean ecosystem.

The Guyana-Suriname Basin has drawn the world’s largest oil companies since Exxon announced in 2015 that it had stumbled on “world class” offshore deposits. Oil production off on Guyana’s side of the maritime border has increased to nearly 400,000 barrels a day since it began in 2019, and Exxon says its operations could reach a million barrels daily by 2027.

Exxon has repeatedly maintained that oil spills are unlikely, and that it has set aside a $600 million fund to quickly clean up any damage. Environmentalists have dismissed this as being way too small, and too late.

“We need to implement the plan that I had before I was removed after the 2020 elections — that was to have a unit of up to 36 highly trained experts stationed on board the drill ships and storage vessels monitoring what is going on. That plan has been abandoned and now we are hearing about satellite monitoring. That is not what we need,” Adams said.

Guyanese officials have reported fierce competition for 14 more oil blocks near the consortium’s two Liza fields. Bidding closes in mid April.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Paul Njoroge, right, points to photos of his wife and three children that were killed in the 2019 c...
Associated Press

Boeing pleads not guilty in case over deadly Max crashes

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Boeing pleaded not guilty Thursday to a charge that it misled regulators who approved its 737 Max, the plane that was involved in two crashes that killed 346 people. Family members of passengers who died gave emotional testimony, calling for criminal prosecution of top Boeing officials. The families are trying […]
18 hours ago
abortion Capital gains tax Olympia meeting legislature abortion...
Associated Press

Washington lawmakers hear testimony on 7 abortion bills

Abortion rights proposals have been front and center in Olympia, Washington, this week as state lawmakers heard hours of public testimony on seven proposals that would reinforce abortion access.
18 hours ago
FILE - The sun dial near the Legislative Building is shown under cloudy skies, March 10, 2022, at t...
Gene Johnson, Associated Press

Justices weigh effort to balance Washington state’s tax code

SEATTLE (AP) — An effort to balance what is considered the nation’s most regressive state tax code came before the Washington Supreme Court on Thursday, with justices hearing arguments about whether they should overturn a prohibition on income taxes that dates to the 1930s. Washington is one of nine states without an income tax, and […]
18 hours ago
FILE - In this April 4, 2017, file photo, fountains erupt along the Las Vegas Strip in Las Vegas. A...
Associated Press

Lawsuit: Vegas Strip resorts used vendor to fix hotel rates

LAS VEGAS (AP) — A federal lawsuit in Nevada is seeking class-action damages for countless hotel patrons who booked rooms in Las Vegas since 2019, alleging that most hotel-casinos on the Las Vegas Strip have used a third-party vendor to illegally fix prices. The complaint filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Las Vegas alleges […]
18 hours ago
This undated photo provided by the Grants Pass Police Department shows Benjamin Obadiah Foster. Fos...
Associated Press

Police: Oregon fugitive kidnapped woman like 2019 Vegas case

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Police in southern Oregon were searching Thursday for a man accused of torturing a woman he held captive less than two years after he was convicted in Nevada of critically injuring another woman he held captive for two weeks. Police Chief Warren Hensman, of Grants Pass, Oregon, said in a telephone […]
18 hours ago
Brittany Lampkin of Yazoo County, extolls the Mississippi Black Women's Roundtable legislative agen...
Associated Press

Maternal deaths and disparities increase in Mississippi

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Deaths from pregnancy complications have become more prevalent in Mississippi, and racial disparities in the health of those who give birth have widened in recent years, according to a report released Thursday by the state’s Department of Health. The Mississippi Maternal Mortality Report shows that the maternal mortality rate increased by […]
18 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.
SHIBA WA...

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Guyana: Satellites will spot oil spills, not on-ship experts