The highly anticipated and slightly controversial Kayangel oil exploration project has been delayed approximately one-week according to local spokesperson Jack Pierce of the Palau Energy Pte. Ltd (PE).
The company in mid-January conducted various presentations and meetings with local stakeholders for the planned test drill scheduled for mid-February. But since the environmental assessment and all supporting documents were submitted to the Environmental Quality Protection Board (EQPB) for the earthmoving permit and the Ministry of Public Infrastructure, healing Industries and Commerce (MPIIC) for the exploration permit, information pills none have been approved as of date.
The environmental assessment and supporting documents submitted by PE are about 500 pages, causing some reviewers to request for additional time.
A status conference on the pending earthmoving permit was held by EQPB on February 18th, and although it went well and the agency is cooperative in the matter, Pierce says they asked for PE’s patience in getting that final approval.
The exploration and the earthmoving permits are required in order for PE to move forward and mobilize its team for the 15-day exploration dubbed as “Northstart-1X test drill” in Velasco Reef.
Pierce says the week delay creates some anxiety, as the short window for use of Norshore Atlantic, the multi-million dollar drillship contracted for this project, gets shorter. But PE is hoping upon hope that approvals are made within this week or soon to ensure mobilization.
In addition to anxiety, the delay causes schedule interference for subcontractors hired and may also slightly increase costs says Pierce.
Roxanne Blesam, the Executive Director of EQPB told OTV that at this time PE’s application is still under review having been submitted with support from Kayangel State on January 28, 2015.
Additionally, the Board has not expressed its direction, but a thorough review of the application and supporting documents is required to ensure compliance of the law.
OTV news staff was unable to reach Governor Titiml, as of this report, regarding his views on this delay.