Trinidad’s Energy Minister makes case for Guyana’s natural gas to be processed in T&T

Trinidad’s Energy Minister makes case for Guyana’s natural gas to be processed in T&T

By Svetlana Marshall

Trinidad and Tobago’s Minister of Energy, Stuart Young, made a strong case today for the neighbouring CARICOM state to process natural gas from Guyana and Suriname.

As he addressed the delegates at the Guyana Energy Conference this morning, Minister Stuart said Trinidad and Tobago has the facilities, but is in need of the natural gas to process.  

“There are countries that want the LNG and we, right here have the ability to produce more with existing capacity that is already built, already amortized…and all that is required is access to reserves of oil and gas,” the Trinidadian Energy Minister said. 

Currently, Guyana lacks the ability to process its own natural gas. However, together with ExxonMobil, the country is currently building out a gas-to-energy project, which is expected to see the construction of a power plant and a natural gas liquids plant at Wales on the West Bank of Demerara, that will be able to process gas from the country’s offshore oil block. 

But though not singling out Guyana, the Trinidadian Minister warned that it would take billions of US dollars to achieve the current capacity that Trinidad has, and a little while before the gas could be monetized. 

“How long would it take for the people who own those resources to get the returns of the of revenue? Wouldn’t you have to offer tax holidays? Wouldn’t you have to offer moratorium? Wouldn’t you have to offer incentives to the expenditure of those billions? Wouldn’t you then have to put down the type of infrastructure for the shipping… as opposed to if we were to collaborate? For example, right there in Trinidad, there is the existing plugins, send your gas resources and you will see your returns immediately. No wait. No moratorium, no need for incentives and immediate returns on your natural resources, which you then use for infrastructure in your country,” Minister Young reasoned. 

He said greater collaboration among Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana and Suriname in the area of Oil and Gas would augur well for the Caribbean Region, which is currently facing significant challenges in its quest to achieve energy security. 

Mr. Stuart said should the world be hit with another crisis, like the COVID-19 pandemic or the war in Ukraine, the region must not be left out in the cold. He said therefore, it is important for countries such as Guyana, Suriname and Trinidad to utilize their resources for benefit of their people and region. 

Speaking just after Guyana’s Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo, and Minister of Natural Resources, Vickram Bharrat, Minister Young questioned what percentage of the 640,000 plus barrels of oil produced daily in Guyana, is being used to achieve energy security in the region.   

He said Trinidad has spent the last seven years repositioning itself in the Oil and Gas Industry – a move that saw it renegotiating almost all of its contracts in the local Gas Industry to the benefit of its people.

“Every contract that we renegotiated, augurs better in direct revenue for the people of Trinidad and Tobago, and the multinational oil and gas companies have not gotten up and run off. They continue to invest because it is all about respect and fairness of relationships,” he said.

The Minister also said it is important for countries in the Caribbean to have a united voice, one that would see companies coming to the region to negotiate, as opposed to the region believing that those companies are doing it a favor. 

“And that is one of the things we need to change. It is the resources of Guyana, the resources of Suriname, the resources of Trinidad and Tobago, neighboring countries, their potential in Grenada, in Barbados and other small island states, it is the people’s resources. And, we as the elected governments have the responsibility to do the best that we can to get the best revenue streams…which includes responsible exploitation of these resources,” Minister Young said. 

Noting that countries in the region must not fall to outside pressure from wealthy and developed countries that have long exploited their resources to the benefit of their people, the Trinidadian Minister emphasized that together countries in the region can make a real difference.

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