‘No competition’ – Trinidad ready to support Guyana’s oil refinery but seeking investors for its own facility


Guyana wants to build its own oil refinery and Trinidad and Tobago (T&T) Energy Minister Stuart Young believes that this does not place the two countries in competition with each other despite Trinidad’s own interest in finding a new user of its Point-a-Pierre oil refinery.

The Energy Minister, during a post-cabinet briefing on Thursday, acknowledged Guyana’s plans to build a refinery much smaller than the Trinidadian facility.

The T&T facility can refine about 140,000 barrels of oil per day but Guyana hopes to build a refinery at Crab Island, Region Six (East Berbice- Corentyne) to process about 30,000 barrels of oil daily.

Because T&T has been openly seeking users of its refinery, even inviting a proposal from Guyana, Young was asked if Guyana’s plans compete with Trinidad’s.

He, however, said there is no competing interest.

“They are looking at a smaller sized refinery…they are not looking at something that large to start with.

“I mean, good luck to them… It is a difficult business but what Guyana has is it has a steady supply of crude and I suspect they will do some of the necessary negotiations to bring some of that crude,” Young said.

He later added, “I don’t see it at all affecting Trinidad and Tobago and the ability for someone to come in with the right proposal to restart the refinery in Trinidad and Tobago.”

During Guyana’s recently-concluded International Energy Conference, T&T’s Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley said his country’s oil refinery is ready for use.

Responding to this offer, Guyana’s Minister of Natural Resources Vickram Bharrat said Guyana wants to build its own refinery but is keen on a natural gas partnership with the experienced Twin-Island Republic.

Minister Young said the Trinidadian government was aware of Guyana’s plans and will still support its sister CARICOM state.

“We were very aware prior to the Prime Minister making the announcement in that hall that Guyana has its own plans and we stand ready, as we reinforced with them, to assist in the development of their own hydrocarbon economy and sector,” Minister Young told those gathered at the briefing.

He added, “The offer was not only for Guyana.”

In fact, Young said that Prime Minister Rowley leveraged the attention directed towards Guyana’s energy conference to push Trinidad and Tobago’s plans too.

And Young disclosed that he was approached by potential inventors on this venture at the sidelines of the conference.

A special body of experts has been set up in T&T to review proposals. That body is tasked with determining the viability of offers made and the Energy Minister said any serious prospect must have a ready supply of oil and a willingness to assess what works needs to be done at the Point-a-Pierre facility.

Importantly, Young said that a working group to push energy cooperation between Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago was recently approved by T&T’s cabinet. This group, on the Trinidad side, is led by the Ambassador to Guyana, Conrad Enill.

Last week, Minister Bharrat said the two countries are resuming talks focused specifically on energy cooperation in a bid to leverage the resources, facilities and expertise in both countries.

“…We agreed we are going to restart that working group so we can have greater collaboration between Trinidad and Guyana,” Bharrat said at the International Energy Conference and Expo’s closing panel at the Marriott Hotel in Kingston, Georgetown.

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