T&T Minister: Govt pursuing what must be done after talks between US, Venezuela

Government has already been having the necessary discussions and pursuing “what needs to be pursued” to benefit T&T following recent talks between the US and Venezuela.

And Energy Minister Stuart Young goes to Washington next week to continue efforts on this

Young indicated this at yesterday’s post-Cabinet media briefing

He was commenting on whether there were potential benefits for T&T following the talks which recently occurred between the US and Venezuela, after many years of US sanctions against Venezuela.

The reopening of dialogue followed Russia’s attack on Ukraine and the US’s sanction against Russia.

Following the US-Venezuela talks last weekend, Venezuela released two jailed US citizens.

On T&T’s position, Young said, “This is not a Government that is sleeping or not connected, but it’s always looking for opportunities for T&T. There were questions asked why the Prime Minister and I went to Qatar the other day. It was because that was to sit at tables with leaders with the people who hold over 71 per cent of global gas reserves, including Venezuela.”

He added: “We’re very active all the time pursuing things that benefit T&T. What we’re seeing here, we have already been having the necessary discussions and already pursuing what needs to be pursued to benefit T&T, especially in the area of gas. And there will be more coming out of that in the not too distant future.

“There was one article in the paper which said ‘Young should go to Washington DC next week’. I was already planning to be in Washington next week.”

He added: “The Prime Minister and myself are always looking at opportunities and angles for T&T and we’ll continue to pursue that and hopefully come with good news.”

He said the Ministry of Finance and his ministry were looking at the options resulting from oil price increases and its influence on the fuel subsidy and the liberalisation issue. The oil price is now US$112.

He said the Prime Minister indicated the Government will work out what burden the taxpayer can carry in this scenario, but there’s no decision yet. He said there wasn’t an intention to go fully into liberalisation but Finance and Energy were tasked to look at it and make recommendations to Cabinet.

Young said Government won’t get rid of the CNG infrastructure as it moves forward with electric vehicles but the CNG system won’t be expanded.

The move toward electric vehicles – in keeping with reduction of carbon emissions by 30 per cent – includes electric buses and putting in more electric vehicle charging ports in strategic areas across T&T.

On bids for the Guaracara refinery, Young said four proposals have come in.

“They’ve been reviewed with the Finance Minister and myself. Decisions were taken, they had certain requests for extensions of time and to come and visit the refinery,” he said.

He said Government would only take seriously an entity that comes with a proper proposal to restart the refinery.

“From those doing the interaction with the international consultants, we expect that to close off in early April. Let’s wait and see what comes in and if there’s something feasible, let’s proceed,” he said.

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