MINISTER in the Ministry of Finance Allyson West says the transitioned Petrotrin will earn this country more than US $200 million annually.
She was speaking yesterday during Senate debate on the national budget.
She said following a detailed evaluation the difficult decision was taken to close the refining and marketing operations of Petrotrin.
“Continuing to run Petrotrin with sustained losses and heavy debt could not be maintained. It meant diverting finances that could have been used to provide more roads, schools, health facilities and social programmes to keeping a company afloat that was supposed to be a net earner for the citizens of Trinidad and Tobago.”
She said Government will be focusing in improving exploration and production capacity to maximise the use of these resources.
“It is estimated that this new business model will bring over US $200 million per year in foreign exchange after the completion of the transition. Under this new structure we can look forward to Petrotrin’s operations becoming a net earner rather than a net user of foreign exchange.”
West also reiterated Government’s equipment to the workers of Petrotrin.
“They will be treated fairly during this time of restructuring and transitioning.”
She said recent developments with the local energy sector signalled to Government that the industry was in recovery. She reported gas production has been increasing with the annual average of 3.8 standard cubit feet per day in 2018 and projected increase to 4.14 billion by 2021. She said this was being driven by an increase in exploration and production activity from partners in upstream sector.
“The various initiatives illustrate that the upstream oil and gas producers continue to see Trinidad and Tobago as a valuable in the oil and gas industry.”
She said Government was moving closer to introducing clear and decisive action in addressing transfer pricing malpractices and revenue leakage stemming from commercial and contractual structures of the LNG trains.
She reported in light of continued commitment to the Paris Agreement on climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and increasing demand for limited natural gas supply “we are committed to ensuring that by year 2021 at least 10 per cent of our total energy supply will come from renewable energy sources.”
West said there were two projects Government intended to pursue to allow small producers of renewable energy to feed electricity into the national grid: Utility Scale Renewable Energy project and Waste to Energy Development project.
She also criticised the previous administration saying after five years of mismanagement it was critical for this Government to establish a system of credibility and trust. She said this budget has built on this administration’s prudent fiscal strategies.
“We have weathered the storm so the theme of this year’s budget presentation is aptly called turnaround.”
She said between 2010 and 2015 the government collected untold levels of revenue and spent even more untold levels of expenditure.
“Those were years of unparalleled and reckless extravagance and waste. Vanity projects that bore little relevance to sustainable economic development was the order of the day. Indulgence continued into 2015 even in the face of a rapid decline of oil and gas revenues.”
She said this Government had to engage in a series of adjustments of expenditure to give the country breathing room. She said this country avoided seeking support from organisations like the International Monetary Fund and sparing the country from harsh austerity measures.
She said those who do not accept the figures of growth either do not understand the statistical methods are were up to “mischief and cannot accept the fact that we are well along the path to turnaround.”