The Prime Minister foresees a new collaboration among players in TT’s energy sector including at Atlantic LNG Train One, he told the House of Representatives on Wednesday in Prime Minister’s Questions. He was replying to Caroni Central MP Dr Bhoendradatt Tewarie’s query as to any new steps by the Government for TT’s gas sector in a time of low prices.
He said stakeholders, upstreamers and downstreamers, see an interest in doing business in TT.
“Upstreamers who would hold on to prices for supplying raw material to downstreamers would have an interest in ensuring that downstreamers exist, and downstreamers are operating and surviving and discounting in a marketplace where the prices are quite volatile.
“What the Government is doing is staying in contact, not only as a shareholder in the NGC and as an owner of acreage exploited, but talking to all those involved to ensure we are all stakeholders in this business. “While we acknowledge the sanctity of contracts, we believe contracts are not cast in stone. So it is in everybody’s interest to ensure that those who are involved as their counterparts in the business, that they all survive together.”
Rowley said a new framework exists in his plans for Train One and its shareholders, BP, Shell and a Chinese company. “This is an approach of bringing everybody together to confront the essence of this question, that things have changed and are changing and we need to adjust to suit, so Train One could survive.
“There was a commitment to keep Train One in place, which could have an effect on Train Three.
"We are talking about a unitisation of the shareholding and we distribute shareholding across all the trains for all shareholders.
“So this is a major development. The discussions are under way. We have partial agreement in some quarters and still trying to persuade others to join in."
He expected a new framework, for citizens' benefit, by midyear.
Naparima MP Rodney Charles asked if the PM’s intervention in TT's gas-price during his visit to energy firms in Houston, Texas, had led to today’s problems with gas supply/pricing in TT.
Rowley accused Charles of misrepresentation, saying at that time BP and National Gas Company had stopped negotiating and each dug their heels in.
“What we did was get the two entities to come to the table and talk to each other and agree a gas price.”
His visit had averted a gas shortage, he said. “I don’t know why the Opposition is so upset we got them to agree to price. Once BP agreed to a price, Shell came on board and EOG came on board and there was $5 billion in investment right after that.
Rowley said as a result, exploration in TT is now quite active and is looking ahead for the next five years. He said the Opposition’s queries were “downright irresponsible and dangerous.” Rowley said the Government need not apologise for bringing the parties together. “We have saved this country’s energy sector.”