Press Release 7 – Fiscal incentives must drive the effort to find new sources of natural gas

Updated On: Jan 28th 2015

A group of senior executives of energy corporations say there is an ongoing need for increased fiscal incentives to drive the exploration for natural gas to meet the shortages of the present.“The long-term issue is the need for exploration investment, and the fiscal climate must be appropriate to encourage it,” Vice-President Commercial of the National Gas Company, Anand Ragbir told a panel discussion at the Energy Conference hosted by the Energy Chamber of Trinidad and Tobago, at the Hyatt Regency, Tuesday.

Ian Welch, Managing Director of PCS Nitrogen Trinidad Limited underlined the problem saying “we are not seeing the end of those shortages of natural gas.” CEO of Atlantic LNG, Nigel Darlow estimates the shortages will continue to 2018. But he notes there is a consensus view that there is plenty more gas in T&T.“The question facing us in the industry is how do we work together to unlock it all; how do we collaborate to make sure we get the right fiscal incentives in place to bring that gas and oil to the market it will be absolutely good for everybody,” said Mr. Darlow.

With a view that is different, Roger Packer, Managing Director of Tucker Energy Services came from the audience and suggested that T&T attempt to entice Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro to open up the cross-border reserves (which has been under negotiations for 20 years) between T&T and its South American neighbour in exchange for this country meeting day-to-day shortages being experienced in Venezuela.

Whatever the source of new gas, the panel discussion was advised that Trinidad and Tobago cannot sit and wait for the investment to come from outside of our shores. “This would mean that the international capital markets will dictate the investment that comes to Trinidad; we have to have greater local investment to mitigate against the shocks of the international investment markets,” said Joel Pemberton, CEO, Trinity Exploration and Production Limited.

For Vincent Pereira, who is President of BHP Billiton and Chairman of the Energy Chamber of T&T, companies have to become even more competitive and to manage plant and equipment effectively. It was a suggestion with which NGC’s Ragbir with.

One major requirement that all the panelists agreed upon is the need for collaboration amongst all the players in the industry and with the Ministry of Energy.