Talks are ongoing with representatives of the All Tobago Fisherfolk Association (ATFA) and multinational oil and gas company, Shell Trinidad and Tobago for compensation for fishermen whose livelihood would be affected with the extracting of gas from Tobago’s waters.
Last Thursday, Communications Minister Stuart Young announced that Government had successfully negotiated gas agreements with Atlantic’s Train One’s main shareholders, Shell and BPTT, including a new pricing formula that will “enhance the revenue of TT.”
Economist Vanus James noted in a recent Newsday Tobago article that Shell was about to start extracting gas from Block 22 and NCMA-4 and pipe the proceeds to the gas-processing facilities at Atlantic LNG in Trinidad. James said all of Block 22 and 96 per cent of NCMA-4 are squarely in Tobago waters. BHP Billiton has recently announced major gas finds in block TTDAA-14, which is also squarely in Tobago’s waters.
Speaking with Newsday Tobago on Monday, ATFA’s Vice President Curtis Douglas said that the extraction of gas would affect the fishermen’s income significantly.
“Shell has been meeting with us … they told us that they are going to be extracting some natural gas and running some pipelines from outside Castara to Trinidad.
“We are still in talks… It would affect our income by a great deal, especially for the nine or 12 months that they would start laying the pipes and even when all these big ships start moving up and down.
“It would cause great financial distort or hardship upon fishermen… I guess Shell is taking that into consideration but yes, the fishermen would be affected,” he said.
Douglas said discussions were in early stages.
“We haven’t reached that resolution to say how much each fisherman would get paid or if they would get paid, but they (Shell) are going through the entire procedure - the Certificate of Environmental Clearance and the Environmental Impact Assessment. So, to date, Shell hasn’t said yes, we’ll pay the fisherman,” he said.
He said Shell has said that a public consultation, as required by law, would be be held shortly.