COUVA/Point Lisas Chamber of Commerce president Ramchand Rajbal Maraj has expressed concern that the country may not benefit from higher oil and gas prices as local production levels have declined in recent years.
TT’s 2017 crude oil production, according to data from the Ministry of Energy, stood at 71,824 bpd (barrels per day) while natural gas production is currently 3.4 bcf/d (billion cubic feet per day). According to Bloomberg, WTI crude was trading at US $71.70 per barrel while Brent crude was trading at US $77.47 per barrel. Natural gas was trading at US$2.81 mmbtu.
“My only concern is while the oil and gas prices are in the rise, remember the production level has dropped significantly so I don’t know what impact that could really have with respect to that,” Maraj said. He said despite the Finance Minister’s claim that the economy was experiencing a turn around, he said this had not translated to the business community or to the normal household.
“We are seeing no infrastructural development taking place, we still hearing about shortages in medical supplies so it’s good that we heard of allocations being added on to the different ministries and we are hoping that not too long that some sort of activity will be generated especially in the construction industry,” he said.
“I think we have not seen any difference in the community or the business sector that they are benefitting from any sort of improvements in the economy at this point in time,” he said. Maraj said the Finance Minister had not addressed any national security issues saying crime was affecting both the business community and ordinary citizens. “The crime situation is still an issue, people would still like to see some kind of comfort in the army and police patrols, we are hearing about it but it is not visible, at least the detection rate in homicides could be better.