Energy Minister Franklin Khan has admitted his ministry made a “technical and administrative error” when providing international agencies energy production data.
In a text message to Newsday last night, Khan also said he has taken personal responsibility for the mishap. From now on, data will pass trough him before it goes to these institutions.
“I have instructed the ministry staff that all communication to rating agencies and multi-lateral agencies must pass through the minister (of Energy) and the Ministry of Finance,” Khan said.
On Sunday morning, Finance Minister Colm Imbert said the negative outlook received by the country from credit rating agency Standard & Poor’s was because of “inaccurate estimates of gas production” from the Ministry of Energy. The country still managed to maintain its credit rating, but S&P noted that if macroeconomic conditions, predicated on an uptick in energy production and monetary policy, don’t happen, the country may have its rating downgraded in the next 12-24 months.
Khan said the error has been corrected but the erroneous information had already been submitted to the evaluators.
The ministry used 2017 gas forecast estimates without updating with new and current data, Khan said. The new data should have shown that in January this year gas production was 3.9 billion cubic feet per day— the highest in over three years. “Gas production is on a major upward trend. Juniper from bpTT is now producing to full capacity and Shell Starfish and Dolphin redevelopment should begin production later this year,” he said, referring to projects from the country’s two biggest natural gas producers.