Young Responds to Ramnarine: UNC Spreading Negative Narratives about Dragon Gas

Spread the love

File photo: Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley in Caracas with President Nicholas Maduro in 2018

On Sunday former energy minister Kevin Ramnarine wrote a guest op-ed for AZP News saying that based on a recent arbitral award, the Dragon Gas deal between Trinidad and Tobago and Venezuela may be at risk of not coming to fruition. Current Energy Minister Stuart Young took to Facebook to say that Ramnarine, and other United National Congress (UNC) “mouthpieces” continue to “wish ill” on efforts to secure a future gas supply for T&T. As a fair and independent media organisation, AZP News hereby publishes in full the statement by Young:

By Stuart Young

IT is an undeniable fact that the UNC opposition and its mouthpieces have been on a continuous drive to wish ill on the government’s efforts to secure a future gas supply for our energy sector from our neighbours, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.

The citizens of Trinidad and Tobago and Venezuela would do well to make careful note of how much effort the UNC opposition via its leader, Mrs Kamla Persad Bissessar and her members, including Kevin Ramnarine, have expended to try and prevent this country from accessing the significant proven gas reserves in nearby Venezuelan waters.

Weekly, the opposition leader and those who clearly have no desire for Trinidad and Tobago to succeed spread misinformation, negative narratives and often untruths about the Dragon gas deal and other successful ventures in the energy sector that have been achieved by the government since 2016.

The latest such attempt at confusing and misleading the population is constructed by Kevin Ramnarine who quite frankly failed the population as Minister of Energy having never negotiated a single gas supply contract during his tenure.

He is also responsible for the one gas deal that the UNC negotiated between 2010 to 2015 which has cost NGC billions in losses and continues to cost NGC billions of dollars in losses.

The media reported on May 30, 2024 that a local High Court Judge granted an order at an ex parte hearing (meaning at an unopposed hearing where only the applicant was heard) permitting Phillips Petroleum Company Venezuela Limited and ConocoPhillips Petrozuata B.V. to enter judgement of an ICC attribution award against PDVSA dated April 24, 2018.

Paid political advertisement

This order of the Judge was made without notice to the state and is currently being subjected to appropriate legal scrutiny and the pursuit of legal advice.

However, unsurprisingly, in the interim, Kevin Ramnarine has seen it fit to publicly comment on this order and to opine that it “puts this country’s natural gas dealings with Venezuela and Venezuelan State companies at risk.” This is yet another example of the unfortunate playbook of Ramnarine and the UNC to mislead the population and to make it seem like the Dargon gas deal is in jeopardy.

The recognition of the ICC award dated April 24, 2018, does not affect the 30-year Exploration and Production Licence for the Dragon gas field which was granted to Trinidad and Tobago (Shell and NGC) in December 2023 by the Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.

Our pursuit of the production of the gas from Dragon, and the export of this gas to Trinidad and Tobago is not affected by the recognition of the ICC award against PDVSA.

Lawyers and legal proceedings will decide the standing of the said ICC Award and whether it was properly recognized by our High Court.

However, the people of Trinidad and Tobago should not permit those who only wish our country, and our energy sector the worst, like Kevin Ramnarine, and the UNC, to mislead them.

This PNM government has demonstrated its confidence in Trinidad and Tobago and its competence in securing a 30 year licence for the Dragon gas field, as well as, a specific amended OFAC licence from the U.S. Treasury to develop Dragon and to produce and export the gas from Dragon to Trinidad and Tobago. These are the indisputable facts.

Additionally, as was announced last week, on May 28, 2024, the Government was granted another specific OFAC licence from the U.S. Treasury to develop the Manakin-Cocuina hydrocarbon field with the said licence expiring on May 31, 2026. We will continue to pursue the grant of an appropriate licence from the Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela for Cocuina so that we may proceed, along with bp, to produce the gas from this field.

This Government will continue to work hard to secure a positive and sustainable future for our country’s energy sector as we have been doing. Ultimately, the results keep coming in and our ability to negotiate competently in a very complex global environment is unparalleled.

So I conclude, by asking you, the citizens, to ignore those that consistently wish the worst on our country. Do not ignore the irony that some who comment on the energy sector are responsible for its decimation between 2010 and 2015, including, taking over $14 billion in cash from NGC and diverting same to non-energy projects like the Beetham wastewater project awarded to SIS.

So ignore the naysayers and continue to support those who are actively working to secure our country’s future.

Stuart Young is the Minister of Energy and Energy Industries and also a minister in the Office of the Prime Minister

Support independent journalism. AZP News is an independent news organisation that is not affiliated with any big business and depends solely on advertising to pay our bills. Therefore, we are asking for the generosity of our readers to help us with small donations of any amount, but we will be happy with $20, $50 or $100. Click Here to Donate


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *