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[UPDATED] Rowley: Pray for oil

PM Dr Keith Rowley. PHOTO SUREASH CHOLAI
PM Dr Keith Rowley. PHOTO SUREASH CHOLAI

THE Prime Minister has publicly implored prayerful citizens to pray for new deposits of oil to be found in exploratory drilling 80 miles off Trinidad’s east coast.

“Our future will be very bright if we are successful,” Dr Rowley told a meeting of the People’s National Movement at Barataria South Secondary School on Tuesday.

However, noting reports of piracy off the north coast, he lamented the former government’s cancellation of a contract by its predecessor to buy offshore patrol vessels, but said the Coast Guard will get two new vessels, now under construction, that could stay at sea for 28 days.
Rowley said he had helped push towards negotiations of a new gas price both the National Gas Company and upstream producers like BP, EOG and Shell, the latter of which had initially “downed tools” at a gas price too cheap to fund exploration in deep waters.

Rowley otherwise chided an unnamed former energy minister (Carolyn Seepersad-Bachan) for having claimed TT’s crude oil had too much sulphur content to be processed by most refineries other than the one at Pointe-a-Pierre.

“They said our crude was too ‘sour’ and can’t be sold abroad.”
He said this was not so, and a recent shipment had fetched a handsome price.

“We got a price higher than the benchmark of WTI (West Texas Intermediate). It is marketable. The only problem is we are not producing enough.”

Earlier Finance Minister Colm Imbert told the meeting Petrotrin’s legacy companies were doing well. “These two companies are already making a profit, Paria and Heritage.” He said for the first time in three years, TT crude oil has earned royalties. “Our outlook can only be positive.”
Imbert said TT had been praised in the January edition of the UN World Economic Situation and Prospects 2019, which had reported that TT had returned to positive economic growth, due to higher oil prices and an expansion of natural gas production.

“That is no mean feat,” Imbert said, crediting the Prime Minister for visiting BP, Shell and EOG offices in Houston, Texas.

Imbert said he himself was just back from visiting Washington, DC, where he had met ratings agencies Moody’s and Standard and Poor's (S&P), the International Monetary Fund and World Bank. What he had learnt was that up to now TT’s rating as an investment destination had been dragged down by Petrotrin, which he dubbed “an albatross” around the neck of TT’s ratings.
“Very knowledgeable experts told me that when S&P and Moody’s rate TT as a country alone, we are well within investment grade.”

However adding Petrotrin drags down TT four notches on a scale and out of the investment grade, Imbert added.

Otherwise, Imbert promised to inject money into the system to fund VAT refunds and said 2019 and 2020 will see a significant road-paving programme.
He boasted TT’s 62 per cent debt-to-GDP ratio bettered Barbados’s 170 per cent ratio.

This story has been adjusted to include additional details. See original post below.

THE Prime Minister has publicly implored prayerful citizens to pray for new deposits of oil to be found in exploratory drilling 80 miles off Trinidad’s east coast.
“Our future will be very bright if we are successful,” Dr Rowley told a meeting of the People’s National Movement at Barataria South Secondary School on Tuesday.
However, noting reports of piracy off the north coast, he lamented the former government’s cancellation of a contract by its predecessor to buy offshore patrol vessels, but said the Coast Guard will get two new vessels, now under construction, that could stay at sea for 28 days.
Rowley said he had helped push towards negotiations of a new gas price both the National Gas Company and upstream producers like BP, EOG and Shell, the latter of which had initially “downed tools” at a gas price too cheap to fund exploration in deep waters.
Rowley chided an unnamed former energy minister (Carolyn Seepersad-Bachan) for having claimed TT’s crude oil had too much sulphur content to be processed by most refineries other than the one at Pointe-a-Pierre. He said this was not so, and a recent shipment had fetched a handsome price.
“We got a price higher than the benchmark of WTI (West Texas Intermediate). It is marketable. The only problem is we are not producing enough.”

THE Prime Minister has publicly implored prayerful citizens to pray for new deposits of oil to be found in exploratory drilling 80 miles off Trinidad’s east coast.

“Our future will be very bright if we are successful,” Dr Rowley told a meeting of the People’s National Movement at Barataria South Secondary School on Tuesday.

However, noting reports of piracy off the north coast, he lamented the former government’s cancellation of a contract by its predecessor to buy offshore patrol vessels, but said the Coast Guard will get two new vessels, now under construction, that could stay at sea for 28 days.

Rowley said he had helped push towards negotiations of a new gas price both the National Gas Company and upstream producers like BP, EOG and Shell, the latter of which had initially “downed tools” at a gas price too cheap to fund exploration in deep waters.

Rowley chided an unnamed former energy minister (Carolyn Seepersad-Bachan) for having claimed TT’s crude oil had too much sulphur content to be processed by most refineries other than the one at Pointe-a-Pierre. He said this was not so, and a recent shipment had fetched a handsome price.

“We got a price higher than the benchmark of WTI (West Texas Intermediate). It is marketable. The only problem is we are not producing enough.”

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