ExxonMobil’s huge new Guyana project faces charges of a disregard for safety from experts who claim the company has failed to adequately prepare for possible disaster, the Guardian and Floodlight have found.
Exxon has been extracting oil from Liza 1, an ultra-deepwater drilling operation, since 2019 – part of an expansive project spanning more than 6m acres off the coast of Guyana that includes 17 additional prospects in the exploration and preparatory phases.
By 2025, the company expects to produce 800,000 barrels of oil a day, surpassing estimates for its entire oil and natural gas production in the south-western US Permian basin by 100,000 barrels that year. Guyana would then represent Exxon’s largest single source of fossil fuel production anywhere in the world.
But experts claim that Exxon in Guyana appears to be taking advantage of an unprepared government in one of the lowest-income nations in South America, allowing the company to skirt necessary oversight. Worse, they also believe the company’s safety plans are inadequate and dangerous.
A top engineer who studies oil industry disasters, as well as a former government regulator, has leveled criticisms at Exxon. They say workers’ lives, public health, and Guyana’s oceans and fisheries – which locals rely on heavily– are all at stake.