T&T Young: Don’t panic, hydrocarbons here to stay

Energy Minister Stuart Young is urging Energy Sector stakeholders not to panic about the future of industry in spite of a pending transition away from hydrocarbons.

During his speech at Energy Chamber’s Policy Forum on Tuesday, Young once again gave assurances that Trinidad and Tobago’s energy sector still had a lot to offer.

“First of all, I understand your concerns and your anxiety, but my advice to you is let’s not panic. Let’s work together. Let’s do what is necessary because the truth is hydrocarbons are here to stay,” said Young, who once again stressed that natural gas was the cleanest of the fossil fuels and therefore would be last to be phased out during the world’s transition to clean energy.

“Gas is going to be not only the transition hydrocarbon fuel, but it is the cleanest burning fuel, and what we need to take forward with us into the future, and we must protect that. So I ask all of you to get on board with that conversation and don’t panic, don’t be anxious about our closing world on us. We have our place there at the table and we will fight. The government will fight,” he said, echoing a similar call which he made before the GECF last week.

Young was responding to concerns raised by Chairman of the Energy Chamber Dwight Mahabir, who shared that there were growing worry among stakeholders.

“Many members of the chamber are nervous about the future. Many of our members were not fully recovered from the shock of the 2015 oil price crash, when we were hit by the global pandemic in March 2020,” said Mahabir who added that these anxieties have only been heightened by the pending Energy transition.

“They have been struggling to stay afloat over the past two years. There’s been a massive shift in sentiment against fossil fuels in the international capital markets,” he said.

Minister Young also told the forum that he planned to approach Cabinet next year to discuss the reform of fiscal regimes for oil and gas production, including changes to the Supplemental Petroleum Tax (SPT) and the Petroleum Profits Tax (PPT) as first announced by Finance Minister Colm Imbert in his 2022 budget presentation.

“As we mature as a province we must find ways to stay competitive and to compete for that global capex of these companies who are investing in T&T,” Young argued.

Young added he also intends to approach Cabinet this Thursday to discuss the deep-water bid rounds.

The Energy Minister added he will be leading a team to the world petroleum congress to help push the bid rounds in a few weeks time.

“And you will see when those bid rounds become available and become public that we have listened and we have made the necessary adjustments to ensure there is success with persons entering that bid rounds and the future development of oil and gas in Trinidad and Tobago,” he said.

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