Investing in planet Earth: Phoenix Park, TTNGL take steps to green energy

TT National Gas Ltd chairman Conrad Enill at the company’s annual meeting, Hyatt Regency, Port of Spain on Wednesday. - JEFF K MAYERS
TT National Gas Ltd chairman Conrad Enill at the company’s annual meeting, Hyatt Regency, Port of Spain on Wednesday. - JEFF K MAYERS

This year’s theme for Earth Day is Invest in our Planet, a clarion call to put value into making the earth cleaner for present and future generations.

Energy companies such as Phoenix Park Gas Processing Ltd (PPGPL) and its broader group TT National Gas Ltd (TTNGL) are heeding that call, and, at its latest public update held Wednesday at the Hyatt Regency in Port of Spain, officials touched on plans, policies and initiatives to make its own investments to preserve the planet.

Although he noted that if trends in energy use continues, fossil fuels will remain the dominant fuel source until 2050, TTNGL chairman Conrad Enill said there will be a focus on investing in remaining relevant in a world transitioning to clean energy, and assisting in that transition.

“We have two objectives, be relevant and understand what is taking place but at the same time transition in tandem with the rest of the world as we go through the changes that the world is looking at,” he said.

“The key elements of our green agenda based on our commitment to support TT’s COP21 promise on total emission reduction. These elements are in the areas of carbon storage, greenhouse gas conservation and usage; renewable energy; energy efficiency and fuel switching,” he said referring to last year’s Climate Change Conference in Scotland which the Prime Minister attended.

While he did not go into plans on these pillars, Enill added that the group would also look into the concept of “green financing” which would give priority to projects that would have elements of energy conservation, carbon reduction and other initiatives.

Enill noted that issues connected to climate change have not only affected the lives of people in the region, but it has also affected how the company works.

“We are observing unprecedented climate changes in our recent history which has caused much concern,” he said. “In Latin American and Caribbean region, methane concentration recorded is at its highest in over 800,000 years, but the region accounts for 10 per cent of the world’s methane emissions. We have plans for addressing this issue in this sector.”

He pointed out other challenges including ocean warming, rise in sea levels, Co2 concentration and surface temperature changes.

“This affects us, what we do and how we do it. It has created a new reality that we live in and that we must respond to,” he said.

According to a study done by UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), climate changes such as sea level rise and storm surges present real time issues to energy industry supply chains starting with the infrastructure used for procurement like oil and gas rigs.

PPGPL, in a 2016 report on managing climate change risk, also identified some effects of climate change.

The company observed that there was an increased rate of shoreline erosion which had worsened to the point that infrastructure, which included its southern fence-line right-of-way pipeline and its East to West pipeline in Dock-2 in the Gulf of Paria, were in imminent danger of being severely damaged.

TTNGL has already made contributions to tackling climate change on a policy level. In a chairman’s message in 2019, Enill said the group was involved in the development of a national energy conservation and efficiency action plan for TT, which included TTNGL and the Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries.

Phoenix Park Gas Processors Ltd president Dominic Rampersad at a meeting of TT National Gas Ltd, Hyatt Regency, Port of Spain on Wednesday. - JEFF K MAYERS

In that plan it was realised that a major challenge to the promotion of renewable energy was the subsidised domestic energy products, and proposed to encourage use of green energy through fiscal support mechanisms, legislative support, government investment in green energy products, awareness drives and education and training initiatives.

PPGPL president Dominic Rampersad told Newsday that while emissions is not a real issue for the company it ensures that it still invests in the goal of contributing to the green agenda.

“A gas processing plant is what you would call a closed loop plant. You wouldn’t see vent stacks all over the place. We would vent natural gas in a manner that is environmentally friendly and because of the nature of our business we don’t have the problem of emissions.”

“What we try to do is mitigate our energy consumption and waste water emissions. We spend a lot of money treating our waste water so that when it goes into the waterways it will be released within the specifications of OSH (occupational safety and health).”

In his presentation at the Hyatt, Rampersad said the company invested in its people to develop sustainable plans to move forward in the best way possible. He said the company selected staff and invested in employees’ master’s programmes in sustainability. These students are now part of the organisation’s sustainability committee which guides the company on sustainable practices with a roadmap that not only focuses on business but the organisation’s contribution to sustainable mitigation of climate change.

“We have created a sustainability focus in the organisation which matches with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),” said Rampersad.

He said some of the focus on environmental sustainability included improvement of air quality throughout all buildings, development of an energy management policy in accordance with an ISO 50001 standard, monitoring greenhouse gas emissions and identifying opportunities for reduction and developing a “green” procurement platform to select sustainable sources of material, products and services.

“This is all being done in alignment across the NGC (National Gas Company) group,” he said. “So we are not running off on our own and doing something. One of the key elements of the NGC group is building a synergy across the different functions of the group. We are at the end of the day, a TT company and we are ensuring that our goals and aspirations are aligned with that of the state.”

PPGPL in its climate change risk management report said it will champion the social leadership drive in mitigating and combating climate change.

The report said it had already started through using solar-powered perimeter lighting and motion sensor-operated extractor fans, thermostat management to reduce energy consumption during low occupancy periods, replacement of old air conditioning units which consume more power and proper maintenance of air conditioning units.


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