Trinidad and Tobago’s self-proclaimed “number one salesman,” Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley, was hard at work yesterday as he marketed this country as the region’s best bet for a bright energy future.
Prime Minister Rowley was among a group of heads of government from the region who arrived in Georgetown Guyana to participate on the opening day of the International Energy Conference and Expo at the Guyana Marriott hotel.
“The regional energy landscape does not equip any single country to meet the energy security requirements of the region. A cooperative approach allows for shared risks and diversified perspectives, and will facilitate the development and execution of innovative solutions to the challenges associated with the energy demand for the region,” Rowley said.
Rowley said because of this, T&T had taken a deliberate policy to engage its regional neighbours in the development of economic cooperation in the energy sector.
This includes agreements with Bolivia, Venezuela, Barbados and Grenada, which will allow for the exploration of hydrocarbon resources in the shared maritime boundaries, he said.
In addition to this, he said a Memorandum of Understanding with Guyana and Haiti have also been signed.
Rowley said in today’s economic environment, however, investments in enabling infrastructure and technology can be costly, even to the point of being prohibitive.
However, he said T&T can help in that regard.
“T&T has the energy infrastructure to monetise hydrocarbon resources produced by its Caribbean neighbours. The country possesses ten ammonia plants, seven methanol plants, four LNG plants, an iron and steel complex, which at peak performance utilised as feedstock four bcf of natural gas per day, and an oil refinery which processed up to 140,000 barrels of oil per day. Our current natural gas production averages 2.8 bcf per day and we are still exploring the market for a user for the oil refinery,” the PM said.
This was not the first time Rowley promoted the mothballed Petrotrin Pointe-a-Pierre refinery in his 25-minute speech yesterday, as he stated the refinery and its supporting infrastructure are available for “restart, upgrade and use on reasonable terms to any interested refiner or crude supplier.”
“T&T, therefore, provides a viable option for those countries that wish to optimise the monetisation of their hydrocarbon resources without incurring substantial capital expenditure. The proposed Dragon Gas Project with the Bolivarian Government of Venezuela is an example of government-to-government co-operation in the monetising of natural gas resources. We are open to discussion with our other Caribbean neighbours on the monetisation of their hydrocarbon resources in T&T. We would also wish to assist you in developing programmes to meet the necessary training needs of your energy personnel,” Rowley said.
“T&T possesses a number on non-governmental and government agencies that have been meeting the human resource development needs of the energy and industrial sectors of T&T, as well as emerging oil and gas economies.”
Rowley said as an emerging major oil and gas producing region, leaders have a window of opportunity to take a proactive approach to leveraging their collective knowledge and expertise to optimise new opportunities going forward.
“Linking the energy and industrial transformations to a collaborative economic strategy would ensure that the region makes the most out of its abundant oil and gas resources. We must use our energy resources for the benefit of our people, to build resilience and scale in our economies and to create energy security for the region,” he said.
Rowley also cut the ribbon to officially open the exhibition yesterday, alongside Guyana President Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali, Guyana Prime Minister Mark Phillips, St Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves and former Colombia President Ivan Duque.