Need: Strong Incentives for Oil, Gas

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By Dr Neil Gosine

WITH the budget coming up, and we know our economy is highly dependent on gas and oil. As every year governments base their revenues on oil and natural gas prices.

Under the stewardship of the PNM government the sector has had many challenges over the last eight years. In fact, many energy commentators are saying that our oil production continues down the road of a slow death. If the government doesn’t implement strong incentives to battle this decline, we will face its demise in the coming years. Faster than anyone wants.

We have only awarded three deepwater blocks in about nine years and frankly that is a horrible track record and businesses generally find that it’s not easy to do business in Trinidad and Tobago. The revenue potential around our energy sector does not have any lure on investors and this is a real problem for us. That, coupled with the ease of doing business is a recipe for disaster.

The government does not seem to have any plans for the Pointe-a-Pierre refinery. It’s turning into another dilapidated hunk of junk. However, the major thing on the horizon right now is the Dragon Gas deal, yet another signing of this deal brings hope to our industry, but it appears to be only signing after signing with no tangible results. There seems to have been several Dragon deal singing over the years, since 2016. I may be wrong but that is what it looks like.

Neil Transport Services

The signing of the Dragon gas deal with Venezuela offers a gas field with the potential of producing between 150-300 million standard cubic feet of gas per day (mmscf/d). This will give us a great boost as our natural gas resources continue to decline and will decline rapidly in another decade. The immediate benefits to the Dragon field is a welcome opportunity and we really hope that the political manoeuvrings can finally hammer out a deal that can bring this to fruition.

The only hope we have right now is the expedition and exploitation of the Loran-Manatee and the Dragon fields. We all want to know if this will get off the ground soon and when we can expect gas from the Dragon field. We haven’t gotten much information on what the latest signing of this deal on the Dragon field entails between this Government and the Venezuelan administration by Minister Stuart Young and I find that curious.

The current state of our energy sector is worrying to say the least and alarming to our citizens. Can we leave another term to this administration to steer us out of this crisis? With the right leadership, with the right people and with the right government we may fare better in handling our energy future where we desperately need increased investments, increased production and management. Time to call a spade a spade and change the administration.

Neil Gosine is an insurance executive. He is also the treasurer of the UNC and a former chairman of the National Petroleum Marketing Company of Trinidad and Tobago. He holds a Doctorate in Business Administration, a Master’s in Business Administration MBA, BSc in Mathematics and a BA in Administrative Studies. The views and comments expressed in this column are not necessarily those of AZP News, a Division of Complete Image Limited.



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