Subscribe to download Archive

Yellowtail environmental permit includes landmark provisions targeting emissions reduction

The environmental permit issued for Yellowtail, the fourth development target at the Stabroek block offshore Guyana, differs from its predecessors because it will include a roadmap for carbon dioxide emissions reduction.

The use of this roadmap is part of a wider effort to minimise the environmental impact of oil development, according to a report from In line with these efforts, ExxonMobil, the US-based super-major that is leading development at the block, has also pledged to examine the potential use of carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS) technologies as part of the $10bn Yellowtail project.

These requirements are spelled out in Guyana’s draft Low Carbon Development Strategy, which calls for eliminating gas flaring, as well as the use of the best environmental technology.

Joel Gravesande, the head of the oil and gas department at Guyana’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), stated the following with regards to the provisions of the newly issued Yellowtail permit: “This provision in the permit is new to Guyana, and I am happy to know that the EPA [has been] pushing for this. The driving factor is actually ExxonMobil’s stated global commitment to get to net zero by 2050. We want to know what their plan is for Guyana and how they intend to achieve that goal here.”

According to the Yellowtail environmental permit, Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Ltd (EEPGL), the ExxonMobil affiliate that is leading work at Stabroek, has 90 days following the issuance of the document to submit a work plan. This document must detail how the company and its partners and contractors will achieve reductions in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions intensity and what CCUS technologies may be used during the project execution.

In accordance with its 2050 net-zero goal, ExxonMobil has committed to finalising roadmaps that will address approximately 90% of the company’s GHG emissions by the end of this year, with the remainder expected to be addressed in 2023. In an effort to accelerate this endeavour, the company has identified 150 potential steps to be applied to its upstream, downstream and chemical operations.

Already underway are actions to address ExxonMobil’s energy efficiency, methane mitigation and the elimination of venting and routine flaring.