Saturday, December 16, 2017

Ramnarine sees US$9b inflow to energy sector in three years


Mark Fraser

Energy Minister Kevin Ramnarine is predicting a US$9 billion spend in the country’s energy sector over the next three years. 

“In 2014 the forecasted capital expenditure for the energy sector is US$3.3 billion. In 2015 that figure is US$3.2 billion and in 2016 it is US$3 billion. The main actors in these numbers are BP, BG and Petrotrin. Most of that money is being spent to bring oil and gas to the surface and to market in a safe and efficient manner,” Ramnarine said in his address at the opening ceremony of the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPETT) Energy Conference 2014 yesterday at the Hyatt Regency (Trinidad), Port of Spain. 

Ramnarine noted that traditionally 90 per cent of foreign direct investment is energy-related, which he attributed to increased investor confidence, particularly from the incumbent players BP, BG, BHP and EOG, as well as the “fiscal incentives that have been provided in every budget for the last four years”.

In the upcoming 2014/2015 fiscal year, Ramnarine said he intended to “look closely” at how the development of small pools of natural gas could be incentivised. 

He added that 2018 will be significant one for the country as it pertains to the renewal of two very important contracts: Atlantic Train I and the BP domestic contract. Negotiations for these contract finalisations are already underway. Next year, he also noted that the BG / Chevron Base Gas Sales Contract with the National Gas Company expires.

“These are big contracts that impact the future of the country. We don’t intend to make decisions around these contracts without the benefit of a new natural gas master plan (for which a study has been commissioned),” he said.

He said there were already “signs of improvement” at Trinmar, where production has averaged over 23,000 barrels of oil per day (bopd) for the last four months. He said Petrotrin’s flagship project (the Jubilee discovery) is expected to realise an incremental production of almost 7,000 bopd by 2018 with a total investment of TT$3.5 billion in the next four years. 

Regarding maintenance works at the Pointe-a-Pierre refinery, Ramnarine said the situation there must be “carefully considered”. 

“In the last three years, from 2011 to 2014, 15 plants (have been) shut down for turnarounds, many of which were long overdue for maintenance.  By contrast, during the five-year period from 2005-2010, seven plants were shut down for turnarounds. This placed an enormous demand on manpower and financial resources as well as contractor and materials logistics which adversely affected other asset integrity and maintenance measures. Over the last three years, (the company) has had to play catch up with the outstanding turnarounds. This has placed an enormous demand on manpower and financial resources as well as contractor and materials logistics which have adversely affected other asset integrity and maintenance measures,” he said.

He said because of this, several asset integrity initiatives have been developed and are in various stages of implementation, all aimed at improving asset availability and reliability, recovering Petrotrin’s proactive maintenance programmes and improving personnel competence level. 

Table: Foreign Direct Investment in Trinidad and Tobago 2010-2013

Year 2010 2011 2012 2013

US$ million 549 1,831 2,453 1,713