Trinidad considering natural gas imports

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(Modified from TT Guardian) Chairman of National Gas Company (NGC) in Trinidad and Tobago, Gerry Brooks said the state-owned company is not ruling out importing natural gas to meet and satisfy demand by members of the energy sector.

Justifying the option to look at importing gas, he said given the existing circumstances in which the country has faced gas curtailment for the past four years and slipping revenues, there was need to look at every possibility “reasonably.”

Brooks was speaking last week, in an interview after a panel discussion, titled The Global Gas Economy, on Day One of the Energy Conference which was held at the Hyatt Regency Hotel on Dock Road in Port-of-Spain.

Asked what countries would NGC look to import from, Brooks said: “You are trying to extract a response from me, which I would not give you. There are, though, obvious countries that are exporting gas, the US right now is a net exporter.

“When you take a look at energy prices, the prices are projected to be low certainly until 2020 so there are several exporting countries that sell cargo on a daily basis. We would look at those (exporting countries) and see what the options are.”

When it comes to other projects, he said it was at a “sensitive stage” and therefore could not disclose what the new projects were.

He added though that, “we are looking at some approaches used by other territories to solve their problem, which we have to determine if it could be applied to our own (problem), in terms of either the medium term because some of them could provide a five-year solution which is an interim period, during which we solve the gas supply problem.”

What is clear, Brooks said is that NGC has a lot of work to do, especially as Loran/Manatee and the Dragon fields are expected to come into operation, BHP’s drilling campaign comes into operation, and in the deepwater drilling 800 million standard cubic feet (scf) of gas per day is needed to make the infrastructure work.

This means, “we (NGC) are going to be thoughtful around it. We are going to be very professional around it, but we are going to be transformative in our thinking around it.”

Expanding further about a regional energy hub, Brooks said that would involve using T&T’s proven advantages in the energy sector over the last 100 years and more than 40 years in gas, to establish how the country leverages its location and pipeline infrastructure.

He added that T&T has 1,000 kilometres of pipeline with a gas efficiency of over 99.9 per cent and an excellent safety ratio.

“How do we leverage our expertise in engineering, in working with the upstreamers and going to provinces in Guyana and helping them in their own development: In terms of their tax infrastructure, with their regulatory arrangements, their infrastructural arrangements, the port arrangements through National Energy.”

Brooks said the Union Estate as well as the Point Lisas Estate have been developed and NGC was looking to expand the Point Lisas North Estate.

“Also, its taking a look at the capacity of our partners and how do you work in partnership with the existing companies, taking that partnership abroad so that we put idle capacity to work, we build our own capacity and that feeds back into one-remittance income coming back in, it expands our footprint and improves our earnings stream.”

Guyana and Venezuela

Concerning NGC providing assistance to Guyana, Brooks said it was too early to determine to what extent the assistance would be but, “Guyana has just discovered between 800 to 1.4 billion barrels of oil equivalent, a lot of work needs to be done to put a project around that, determine the commercial quantities, some work has to be done before one gets to that stage in Guyana.”

Elaborating on the NGC team’s visit to Guyana he said, “they met with the Minister of Energy in Guyana, the Minister of Petroleum, the Head of the standing committee of Energy in Guyana. That team (from T&T, who went to Guyana) would have comprised people from Phoenix Park, chief executive of National Energy Corporation and an NGC representative who accompanied the team.”

Brooks confirmed that the Energy Chamber also did a delegation to Guyana and it is “perhaps one of the areas which we can see Caricom coming to life because it is absolutely important for developing countries who have similar aspirations that we work together because we understand the issues that we face.”

“There is common heritage, common legislation, common legal systems so it makes it easier to do business.”

On the issue of Venezuela he said T&T has demonstrated that it has the resources and competencies to develop the Dragon field.

“We have the pipeline, the infrastructure, the gas marketing, the access to markets to be able to do that so, that’s a closer example of the hub working for us.”

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