The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has introduced an independent satellite monitoring system to oversee flaring levels and the discharge of produced water into the ocean by oil companies operating offshore Guyana. The EPA has been actively monitoring the Produced Formation Water (PFW), a byproduct containing certain chemical characteristics. This water, which is extracted during oil and gas operations and subsequently released into the ocean, is subject to strict regulations.
The EPA ensures that any discharges into Guyanese waters are within acceptable levels and as low as reasonably practicable. Through continuous independent satellite monitoring and thermal imaging, the agency detects even the slightest oil sheen and monitors gas flaring activities. The EPA has established specific regulations for PFW, including restricting the oil content in discharged water to be no more than 15 mg/L, with a maximum daily measurement of 42 mg/L and a monthly average of less than 29 mg/L. Additionally, the temperature of the discharge must not exceed three degrees Celsius compared to the surrounding seawater temperature within a 100-meter radius.
The EPA has expressed its commitment to managing PFW in the Guyana EEZ (Exclusive Economic Zone) according to leading industry practices. They receive real-time updates on PFW releases from Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessels, and conduct independent sampling of water quality to ensure compliance with standards. Despite their close supervision, the EPA plans to further enhance its monitoring efforts by increasing oversight of FPSO discharges and initiating an independent review of monitoring data, with the assistance of international experts.
The implementation of this independent satellite monitoring system by the EPA addresses concerns regarding the environmental impact of offshore oil activities. By closely monitoring flaring levels and the disposal of produced water, the EPA aims to maintain environmental standards and protect the marine ecosystem off the coast of Guyana.