Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Count and guard our oil billions

THE PNM's leadership is dismissing as a hoax the discovery of the oilfield with reserves estimated at 48 million barrels of oil, saying that the projected revenue at, say, US$100 per barrel, is not much.

When the math is done an estimated final figure gives (48,000,000 x US$100 = US$4,800,000,000). In words that tally comes up to four billion eight hundred million US dollars. Four billion eight hundred million US dollars converted to T&T dollars at, say, TT$6.30 to US$1 gives, US$4,800,000,000 x $6.30 = TT$30,240,000,000. In words that figure is thirty billion, two hundred and forty million dollars.

If that is not much money, how much is a lot of money? TT$30,240,000,000 can pay for 60,480 standard T&T homes priced as $500,000. This is a hoax if the plan is to rob citizens of this windfall.

Ironically, in day-to-day life in T&T, a normal resident will feel robbed if he is overcharged as much as a dollar by merchants, street vendors or taxi drivers, but when he is robbed millions or billions by the State and partners of the State he is hard-pressed to conclude that he has been robbed and clueless as to what to do about such robbery.

T&T residents trust that US$4,800,000,000 worth of oil is a lot and there are people in high places who will do and say whatever it takes to deprive you of access to that windfall. Don't only manage your dollars and pennies diligently, manage your collective billions diligently or else others will free you of them.

Even if the pessimists' view is taken and as little as three quarters of the estimated 48 million barrels are successfully drilled and sold at US$75 per barrel without diverting any of the resource for refining as marketable downstream products, that gives US$75 x 36 million barrels = US$2,700,000,000. Converted to TT dollars at $6.30 to US$1 gives US$2,700,000,000 x $6.30 = $17,010,000,000. Seventeen billion and ten million dollars is far from pocket change but one can never please professional political pessimists.

B Joseph

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