Guyana, Trinidad & Suriname will not ‘shy away’ from oil and gas development – Rowley


There have been global calls to move away from oil and gas production as countries grapple with the climate crisis but in the Caribbean, the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago Dr. Keith Rowley says the oil-producing nations will continue to harness their resources.

Dr. Rowley was one of the high-level speakers who addressed the opening ceremony of the Guyana Energy Conference and Supply Chain Expo on Monday at the Marriott Hotel in Kingston, Georgetown.

His tone was calm and sombre but his speech was clearly unapologetic. For him, the small nations in the Caribbean have a right to exploit their resources for economic gain.

“The oil and gas industry will be a major source of energy for decades to come during a protracted period of expansion even as we invest and expand the production of various renewables,” Dr. Rowley said.

This isn’t a new position.

The most recent global climate talks, COP28, ended with countries agreeing to gradually stop using harmful fossil fuels (made through oil and gas exploitation) and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.

Those emissions include carbon dioxide, a harmful gas produced when fossil fuels like oil and diesel are burnt. When that gas is produced, it goes into the atmosphere and leads to global warming.

A section of the gathering at the opening ceremony of the 2024 Guyana Energy Conference and Supply Chain Expo (Photo: News Room/February 19, 2024)

What isn’t new either is that countries in the Caribbean, especially the oil-producing nations, believe that they should be allowed to exploit their oil and gas resources for three major reasons.

The first is because they contribute fewer emissions than developed nations; the second, they have huge development needs after decades of exploitation; and the third is because these nations are vulnerable to climate disasters like rising sea-levels and increasing droughts.

Dr. Rowley also reminded those gathered that countries in the region all need energy to fuel their development.

So, Prime Minister Rowley again made it clear that the Caribbean countries will harness their resources, all of those resources, including oil and gas reserves. He said Guyana, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago will not “shy away from beneficial opportunities.”

“In order to ensure energy security for the region and combat the negative impacts of climate change, it is imperative that we use our resources including hydrocarbons through collaborative means,” he said.

He added, “Energy transformation is not just about providing carbon-free energy but prospering on the way to doing so.”

The Prime Minister also made a subtle pitch for countries in the region to lean on Trinidad’s more than 100 years of experience in the oil and gas sector.

For him, there must be efficient production in the region so that energy resources can be best harnessed and used to fund the growth of other sectors be it agriculture or manufacturing.

Secretary-General of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Dr. Carla Barnett, who spoke earlier in the opening ceremony, also highlighted that the energy sector developments in Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago and Suriname, can help guarantee energy security in the region.

And that is important, she said, because the region isn’t one that is energy secure.  Such discussions are expected to be a key part of this year’s energy conference.

From Monday to Thursday, various stakeholders will be discussing the energy sector in Guyana- one of the most exciting oil hotspots in the last decade with production set to increase to about 1.2 million barrels of oil by the end of the decade.

1 Comment
  1. Lynden Mona says

    dr. Rowley has perfected the cause.

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