Published On: Mon, Dec 5th, 2016

Trinidad & Tobago Prime Minister to sign gas deal in Venezuela today

keith-rowley14PORT OF SPAIN - Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley is today in Caracas, Venezuela, to sign a second bilateral agreement that could, as he said recently, “open the door for commercial exploitation of the Dragon gas field in Venezuela” by Anglo-Dutch oil giant Shell for resale to gas-starved downstream companies at Point Lisas.

Energy Minister Franklin Khan, Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister Stuart Young, Foreign Affairs Minister Dennis Moses and what Rowley described as “a fairly large team” will travel on a chartered Caribbean Airlines plane to Caracas today for the signing after which they will return to Piarco this afternoon.

Over the last year, the Energy Ministry, State-owned National Gas Company (NGC), Venezuela’s Petroleum Ministry, State-owned Petroleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA) “have worked consistently toward arriving at a situation where commercial users of natural gas, which is of concern in Trinidad and Tobago, can find supplies from Venezuelan fields which are close to our users,” Rowley said at a post-Cabinet press conference in Port of Spain on December 1.

He said Shell is “partnering with Trinidad and Tobago in this exercise” in its capacity as the “owner of pipeline and platform in Trinidad and Tobago-which can be considered for utilisation in the entry of/receipt of any gas from Venezuela”.
Shell is also the controlling stakeholder in Point Fortin-based Atlantic, the world’s sixth-largest liquefied natural gas (LNG) producer.

Rowley promised to make the details of the arrangements public “later, after the signing, but the whole expectation, the whole intention is that our operations here in Trinidad and Tobago can have a much longer future. And the gas shortage which has been plaguing us (downstream Point Lisas) for the last few years, in the not-too-distant future, will be dealt with by a sustained and sufficient supply coming from the Venezuelan fields which will be processed here in T&T, and supply us with an export product into our current and other markets.”

Not the first time

This is the second agreement to be signed by the Rowley administration covering the Dragon gas fields, which were initially said to have combined reserves of 12-13 trillion cubic feet (tcf). This exceeds Trinidad and Tobago’s total proven gas reserves of 11.5 tcf, according to BP’s Statistical Review of World Energy June 2016.

The first document signed covering the Dragon fields was a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), inked by former energy minister Nicole Olivierre and her Venezuelan counterpart Eulogio del Pino in Port of Spain on May 23 during Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s last official visit to T&T.

Maduro had announced that a “joint venture” company was formed to monetise Venezuelan gas in and from Trinidad.
At the time, Rowley at a joint press conference with Maduro called it an “entity”.

In an October 3 statement, PDVSA estimated the Dragon field will have “early production of 300 million standard cubic feet of gas per day (mmscfd) from four wells. This production will be doubled in the future with the installation of an offshore platform.” Minister Del Pino said in the October statement that export agreements were being negotiated with Trinidad, Aruba, Curacao and Jamaica.

Three days after his visit to T&T, on May 27, Maduro told a PetroCaribe summit in Caracas that Trinidad will help supply the Caribbean with natural gas.

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