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Extractive Sector


Dear Editor/Newsroom,

Yesterday, 20th July, 2018, the 12 noon radio broadcast reported that the erupting well-head 4.5 miles from the Orange Valley Fishing Depot in the Gulf of Paria had been successfully capped and the spewing hydrocarbon had been contained.

Yesterday the enclosed video was also posted on the FFOS Facebook page showing that the erupting well had exploded within close proximity to a contractors workers. FFOS are unaware if there were fatalities. All the new standards for high risk industry in our country have a necessity of a risk assessment and a job safety analysis, which must be completed prior to engaging in especially high risk operations. One of the major risks for this particular operation that took place, is what appears to be the lack of availability of accurate information relative to the behaviour of that particular well. That information would have been contained in the “well file” which would carry data that commenced with the drilling of the well, the subsequent completion of the well, and everything that is in place in that well including the sizes of all the equipment, tubing, valves, subsurface valves etc. Regretfully and according to the Ministry of Energy own statement, this “well file” cannot be found.

There are literally tens of thousands of capped, abandoned and or orphaned wells on land and sea. Based on the Ministry of Energy own statement that the Well File cannot be located, what exactly is the Governments Policy of keeping backed up copies of all well files? Are the contractors workers operating in a high risk environment made more dangerous without the well file?

Who was the contractor working for? Based on the Safe TO Work practices (STOW) (established and endorsed by the Energy Chamber and the MEEI and of the obvious high level of risk associated with capping an erupting well,) is the contracting company STOW compliant? What is the penalty of not being STOW compliant?

Was a risk assessment conducted prior to engaging in such a high risk activity? Was there a breach of procedure that caused this possibly fatal explosion?

How much wealth was derived from this well and who did this well belong to? Who capped this well? Does our Government hold that private oil company responsible for the expenditure of mitigating probable eruptions of abandoned wells?

Why is that taxpayers must now pay to cap this well and compensate the severely affected stakeholders while the responsible oil company (culprits) who earned possibly tens of millions from that well are not held liable?

Unless there is transparency there can be no sustainable development. Sincerely,

Gary Aboud Corporate Secretary Fishermen and Friends of the Sea

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