Energy Minister Franklin Khan assured on Wednesday that TT’s energy sector “is operating fairly well and reliable at this time” under public health regulations implemented to prevent the spread of the covid19 virus.
Khan also disclosed that in the event of an emergency, TT’s natural gas supply be directed towards the power generation companies to help the TT Electricity Commission (TTEC) provide electricity to the country.
“Most important, power generation will have the first call on the gas supply in the case of any precipituous things happening,” Khan told Newsday. “He continued, “That is a government policy. I have instructed the operators to that regard.” Khan said at this time, the Point Lisas Industrial Estate and Atlantic LNG’s plant in Point Fortin “are operating at full capacity”.
He added that all of the major energy companies ( BP, Shell, BHP, EOG, Heritage, Paria and NGC) “have all instituted their covid19 plans” Khan said the majority of the employees of these companies are working from home. He also said the staff who are still on site have been isolated to ensure there is continuous operation, in the event that some one were to test positive for covid19.
Khan added the companies are “companies operating to the maximum standard as required by the health ordinance”. He said TT’s oil and natural gas production over the last two weeks has been good. The former, Khan continued, has averaged above 60,000 barrels of oil per day. The latter, Khan said, was approximately 3.5 to 3.6 billion cubic feet per day. He added this was “as high as it has been for this year.”
Khan said the major challenge the sector continues to face is “with commodity prices which we have no control over, especially the precipitous drop in oil prices.” He added that oil prices are now in the 20’s and “there are a lot of pessimistic forecasts going forward”. Khan said he was not making any prediction where world oil and gas prices will go.
“We have to take this one day at a time and see how this unfolds.” In terms of revenue, Khan said, “We will be hurt very badly by the drop in oil, gas and commodity prices.”