Dragon Gas Deal not in Jeopardy – Ministry

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Caption: Minister of Energy and Energy Industries Stuart Young. AZP News/Azlan Mohammed

The Energy Ministry is refuting suggestions that the Dragon Gas deal is in jeopardy.

UNC activist Ravi Balgobin-Maharaj raised concerns following a statement from the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the US Treasury, indicating a deadline for entities operating under General License 44 to wind down oil and gas operations in Venezuela by May 31, 2024.


Balgobin-Maharaj claimed that this development would lead to the scrapping of the Dragon gas deal. However, the Energy Ministry issued a statement clarifying that the amendment to OFAC General License 44 does not impact the specific amended license granted to Trinidad and Tobago on October 17, 2023.

But a release by the ministry on Wednesday stated that the amended licence remains valid until October 31, 2025, permitting Shell, the National Gas Company of Trinidad and Tobago (NGC), and their affiliates to continue operations related to the Dragon Gas Field in Venezuela.


Energy Minister Stuart Young said that Trinidad and Tobago holds a 30-year exploration and production licence for the Dragon gas field, with ongoing efforts to extract and export natural gas to Trinidad and Tobago.

The US$1 billion Dragon deal, signed in 2018, involves energy giant Shell, Venezuela’s PDVSA, and the NGC, aiming to develop the field and import gas to the Hibiscus platform owned by the Government, NGC, and Shell.

The deal faced uncertainties due to US sanctions on Venezuela in 2019, but last January, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley announced the lifting of sanctions, allowing Trinidad and Tobago to access gas from Venezuela under specific conditions.


In October, OFAC extended Trinidad and Tobago’s license to access gas from the Dragon field until October 31, 2025, enabling diverse payment options including fiat currency, US dollars, and Venezuelan bolivares.

The Energy Ministry’s clarification aims to reassure the public of continued progress on the Dragon gas deal despite external challenges.


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