...Ramnarine calls for energy investment boost
Energy Minister Kevin Ramnarine said yesterday he agreed with major industry stakeholders that the upcoming national budget on September 9 should maintain a competitive fiscal regime.
Speaking at the formal launch of the 2013 Competitive Deepwater Bid Round yesterday at the Hyatt Regency (Trinidad) in Port of Spain, Ramnarine said he hoped to see in the budget further incentives to encourage investment.
But, he clarified, the incentives will only be applicable upon investment.
He added that he will be meeting today with Finance Minister Larry Howai to discuss the sector’s contribution to the Treasury and other budget details.
“We want to see incentives for exploration and production, but without compromising the base revenue stream. We are also looking (to include) fiscal investment in compression (a technique to suck more natural gas out of reservoirs),” he said.
This year’s bid round follows what was described as the most successful bid round in over a decade last year, when a number of participants expressed interest in five deep water blocks.
Mining giant BHP Billiton and its partners’ bids won all five blocks on offer.
The ministry, Ramnarine said, has not changed the fiscal regime of last year because “if it worked then, leave it alone”.
Up for bid are six deepwater blocks: Trinidad and Tobago Deep Atlantic Area (TTDAA) 1, TTDAA 2, TTDAA 3 and TTDAA 7, which lie off the east coast along the international maritime border with Venezuela; and TTDAA 30 and TTDAA 31, lying directly north of Tobago along the border with Grenada.
The bid round began officially on Wednesday, and will end on January 31, 2014.
“Deep water has the potential to radically transform the economic landscape of the country and we look forward to facilitating that,” Ramnarine said.