Atlantic's primary shareholders and the government are getting closer to finalising commercial agreements regarding the liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant's operations.
On Friday Shell, BPTT and the National Gas Company (NGC) met with the Prime Minister and members of Cabinet to discuss the ongoing negotiations.
In a joint release, the shareholders said they expect these negotiations will result in the unitisation (consolidation) of the Atlantic entities that own the four LNG trains into a single entity with a simplified commercial structure. This will enable long-term investments in the upstream and at Atlantic. Unitisation will also enable greater operating efficiency and flexibility and ensure that Atlantic continues to operate as a world class LNG facility that can compete with new sources of LNG supply in the Atlantic (Ocean) basin. The negotiations will also seek equitable distribution of returns for both TT and Atlantic's shareholders.
"Shell, BP and NGC as shareholders of Atlantic believe that restructuring will help ensure sustainability of Atlantic and will create the environment for future investments in TT’s gas industry. The parties also discussed their commitment to conclude negotiations on the extension of Atlantic Train 1 operations beyond March 2020."
In November 2018, Government had announced plans to extend Train One for five more years beyond its 20-year life, which would have come to an end in April last year. In May, the project hit a snag when BPTT announced the wells earmarked to provide gas to Train One were dry holes. The shareholders subsequently announced plans to run the plant until at least the first quarter of this year and then reassess operations based on availability of gas.
William Lin, chief operating officer for BP's Upstream Regions said via the release that the company remains committed to working with its partners in Atlantic and with Government to create a future structure for the company that will allow it to be a world-class producer of LNG, while still ensuring equitable returns for both the country and shareholders.
Shell's executive vice president De La Rey Venter for integrated gas said the successful conclusion of those negotiations would be a "significant achievement for TT and Atlantic’s shareholders, as we seek to further secure the country’s energy future."
NGC president Mark Loquan added that the talks were critical for the future given the Government's and NGC's "strategic focus to seek greater value across the gas value chain for the people of TT.”
Shell is Atlantic's majority shareholder with an overall 53 per cent in Atlantic (and 46 per cent in Train One), followed by BP with 39.2 per cent overall (34 per cent in Train One). NGC has a 10 per cent interest in Train One and 11.11 per cent in Train Four. The Chinese Investment Corporation, which did not attend the meeting, owns 10 per cent of Train One.