Young: ConocoPhillips action will not affect Dragon Gas deal

Energy Minister Stuart Young. -
Energy Minister Stuart Young. -

ENERGY Minister Stuart Young has rubbished claims that the recent recognition of a US$1.3 billion arbitral award to US-based energy giant ConocoPhillips in Trinidad and Tobago against Venezuela's state-owned oil and gas companies will affect the 30-year-exploration and production license for the Dragon gas field.

“Our pursuit of the production of the gas from Dragon and the export of this gas to Trinidad and Tobago is not affected by the recognition of the ICC (International Chamber of Commerce) award against PDVSA,” Young said on June 1.

On May 29, Justice Frank Seepersad allowed ConocoPhilips and its subsidiary, Phillips Petroleum Company Venezuela Ltd, to register the 2018 ICC final award against Venezuela’s state-owned oil company Petroleos e Venezuela (PDVSA) and two subsidiaries.

Seepersad’s order also allows ConocoPhillips to enforce an award and judgment for US$1.1 billion and the post-award interest.

An application by ConocoPhillips said it believed that there are assets belonging to PDVSA that were within the court’s jurisdiction which could be used to satisfy some or all of the award, including proceeds from the Dragon Gas deal between TT and Venezuela which has been in development since 2016.

ConocoPhillips said it wished to have the arbitral award recognised so it could enforce it as a judgment of the TT High Court against any compensation (or any other monies) payable to PDVSA.

Young said the Government was seeking legal advice on the court's recognition of the ICC award.

“This order of the judge was made without notice to the State,” Young said. “Lawyers and legal proceedings will decide the standing of the ICC award and whether it was properly recognised by our High Court.”

Young once again called on the public to ignore what he described as “continued misinformation” from Opposition naysayers.

He said the government secured a 30-year license for the Dragon gas field as well as a specific amended OFAC license from the US, to develop Dragon and produce and export gas from the field to TT.

He also highlighted last week’s announcement that the Government was granted another OFAC license to develop the Manakin-Cocuina hydrocarbon field. That license is due to expire in May 2026.

“We will continue to pursue the grant of an appropriate licence from the Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela for Cocuina so that we may proceed, along with bp, to produce the gas from this field.”

“Ignore those that consistently wish the worst on our country,” he added. “Do not ignore the irony that some who comment on the energy sector are responsible for its decimation between 2010 and 2015, including, taking over $14 billion in cash from NGC and diverting same to non-energy projects like the Beetham waste water project awarded to SIS.”


"Young: ConocoPhillips action will not affect Dragon Gas deal"

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