ExxonMobil Web of Climate Science Denial
Photo Credit: DeSmogBlog
In spite of scientific consensus worldwide that we must transition to cleaner forms of energy and to keep fossil fuel reserves in the ground, ExxonMobil shows no sign of winding down its oil and gas explorations. In May 2015, they announced a significant oil discovery in the Stabroek (Guyana) block about 120 miles (193 kms) offshore. What elation for the newly-elected Guyana government! For a poor developing country, the prospect of oil riches seems a lifeline.
This month, the great news circulated across the fossil fuel industry. “The United States Geological Survey ranks Guyana-Suriname as the world’s second-most prospective, underexplored offshore basin, with an estimated 13.6 Bbbl of oil and 32 tcf of natural gas yet to be discovered,” declared the Offshore Magazine on July 7, 2016.
The article further stated that: “ExxonMobil is reportedly moving Liza [exploration well on the Stabroek block] into the pre-front-end engineering and design phase. Despite low oil prices, analysts such as Douglas-Westwood agree a fasttrack development, while capital-intensive, could provide large potential returns on investment.”
ExxonMobil is by no means alone in its pursuit of more profits. While its affiliate Esso Exploration & Production Guyana Ltd. (USA) holds 45% interest, its partners Hess Guyana Exploration Ltd. (USA) and CNOOC Nexen Petroleum Guyana Ltd. (Canada/China) hold 30% and 25% interest, respectively.
Other players have also gotten on board. In January 2016, Guyana’s Minister of Natural Resources signed a petroleum prospecting license and production-sharing agreement with the joint-venture team of Tullow Guyana BV (UK) and Eco (Atlantic) Guyana Inc. (Canada?) with 60% and 40% interest, respectively.
Commercial production is not expected to begin until another four years. That’s 2020. With continued record-breaking hot temperatures since 1880, Earth’s climate system already shows alarming changes. Rising sea levels, due to melting ice caps, is not good news for Guyana where the majority of the population lives along the low-lying coastal region. Will Guyana’s petrodollars come in time to relocate its capital and build a new port for the oil tankers?
While Guyana plans for its oil-rich future, ExxonMobil continues to fund climate science denial. Although they knew decades ago that carbon dioxide emissions from the use of their products could result in dangerous climate change impacts, ExxonMobil chose to deceive their shareholders and oil-addicted consumers.
During their presentation before the U.S. Senate on July 11 and 12, nineteen Senators repudiated the ways America’s largest oil and gas multinational corporation and others in the fossil fuel industry “developed a sophisticated and deceitful campaign that funded think tanks and front groups, and paid public relations firms to deny, counter, and obfuscate peer-reviewed [climate science] research.”
The degree of deception demonstrates the industry’s lack of moral values. To endanger the lives of millions of people across our planet is a crime against humanity. Could it be that ExxonMobil and its facilitators have become victims of their own deception?
What about the people of Guyana? What environmental risks do they face in the not too distant future?