BPTT/NGC called to revisit gas deal

OWTU president general Ancel Roget hands over a letter to BPTT vice president Giselle Thompson yesterday. - Vidya Thurab
OWTU president general Ancel Roget hands over a letter to BPTT vice president Giselle Thompson yesterday. - Vidya Thurab

The Oilfields Workers’ Trade Union (OWTU) is renewing its call for the Government, National Gas Company (NGC) and BPTT to review and renegotiate their 2018 gas deal or thousands of workers will lose their jobs.

OWTU president Ancel Roget spoke to the media after he delivered a letter, on Tuesday, to BPTT’s office Victoria Ave, Port of Spain.

All details on the agreement are unknown, except that it involves new pricing arrangements, the extension of the Atlantic LNG Train 1, by a further five years, and for the NGC to export liquefied natural gas (LNG) on behalf of the country.

Roget claims the new pricing formula is resulting in a 100 per cent increase for BP and this can dent the energy sector. He predicts the shutdown of the entire Point Lisas Industrial Estate, Titan Methanol plant, two Yara International plants - Trigen I and Trigen II - if his pleas continue to fall on deaf ears.

A letter addressed to new BP CEO Bernard Looney, called on him to redo a new pricing formula that prevents the closure of downstream plants as well as companies in the manufacturing sector. A second letter was delivered to the British High Commission.

“Our people are hurting because of a deal between BP and NGC. Our gas company that was supposed to look out for the interest of the people of TT has failed and didn’t look out for the compounding effect of that deal. They accept the BP position of wanted a 100 per cent increase in gas pricing.”

While he isn’t accusing BP of any illegal action, Roget said the existing deal is “immoral” and will result in thousands of job losses in 2020.

The letter stated because of this deal Yara International, which had already closed its plant will end its temporary gas arrangement with NGC at the end of March.

The union said local companies are struggling to pay the 100 per cent price increase agreed to NGC by BP. “As a result of that the gas users in the country but more specifically at the Industrial Estate in Point Lisas plants can no longer operate. It’s no longer viable for them to operate.”

“I am not focused on defending those employers but if we see workers of TT being damaged by a badly negotiated deal it is the duty of the trade union to point it out.”

The three-year gas negotiations involved a team led by Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley and the International Oil Companies (IOCs). This was an attempt by the government in strengthening the energy sector.

In June 2019 Minister of Energy Franklin Khan, in Parliament, said Phase 1 negotiations with Shell resulted in an agreement to pay the Government approximately US $397 million to the end of 2019. He said the parties are moving onto Phase 2 of the negotiations which surround the restructuring of Atlantic LNG.

An agreement with Shell was signed on May 29 at the Hague, Netherlands at the Head Office, Royal Dutch Shell. This deal was expected to be finalised two months after.


"BPTT/NGC called to revisit gas deal"

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