Chamber offers solution to gas row
The Energy Chamber of Trinidad and Tobago says it is concerned about the nature of public discussion on the issue of cross-border gas and the possible export of gas from Venezuela to Trinidad and Tobago.
“We are concerned that the current public disagreements could harm our long-term national interests and we are worried about the fact that there is now significant uncertainty on this issue amongst our citizens,” the chamber said in a statement yesterday.
The oil and gas business group was responding to a series of articles related to an agreement between Trinidad and Venezuela for development of cross-border Loran Manatee gas field.
The chamber said there were two distinct but closely related issues:
1) the development of cross-border gas fields, and
2) the possible export of gas from Venezuela to Trinidad and Tobago.
“It is our understanding that the recent agreement concerning the Loran Manatee field relates specifically to the first issue—the development of a cross border field. It does not relate to the second issue—the export of gas from Venezuela,” the chamber said.
There are very significant undeveloped gas resources in numerous fields on the Venezuela side of the maritime boundary (the Plataforma Deltana area). Venezuelan published figures suggest there are 38 trillion cubic feet of gas on the Venezuelan side of the boundary. The vast majority of this gas is in fields entirely within Venezuela; only a small per cent of the gas is contained in fields that straddle the boundary. None of the fields have been developed, the group said.
“The natural gas deposits on either side of the maritime boundary remain the sovereign property of each nation. The Venezuelan government has repeatedly stated that their policy is to monetise their gas in their country. Trinidad and Tobago has frequently offered the Venezuelan government the opportunity to monetise their gas in Trinidad and Tobago, utilising our well-established infrastructure. However, this has never been accepted or agreed by the government of Venezuela.
“The Energy Chamber recommends that in order to overcome the current impasse the government and the opposition both ask an independent third-party to review the content of the agreement.
“The independent third party can inform the national public of the general content of the agreement, while maintaining confidentiality, and answer questions from all stakeholders from a position of knowledge.
“The Energy Chamber further recommends that the government and the opposition seek to depoliticise this issue as a matter of urgency and to use tools such as Parliamentary Select Committees to discuss details of international energy agreements,” the chamber said.