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Energy Minister on Repsol’s asset sale: Part of global divestment
Repsol is not selling off its liquefied natural gas (LNG) assets in Trinidad because it’s unattractive to do business here, but is divesting its assets globally to treat with the Argentinian government expropriating the company two years ago, said Energy Minister Kevin Ramnarine.
“Repsol is selling its LNG assets in Trinidad not because Trinidad is unattractive. Repsol, as you know, had their YPF assets expropriated by the Argentine government two years ago. That has caused the company great distress.
“As a result, Repsol is restructuring and part of that restructuring is the divestment of assets globally. That divestment will allow the company to maintain its investment grade,” the minister said.
Speaking at yesterday’s post-Cabinet press conference at the Office of the Prime Minister in St Clair, Ramnarine said Repsol’s local asset sale is a “significant thing” for Trinidad, and he has been in contact with Antonio Brufau, the Madrid-based president of the company.
Ramnarine said he and Brufau have exchanged letters about the pending sale and the company president has twice sent a senior Repsol official to brief the Ministry of Energy on the matter. “Matters are beiing reported now in the international press, speculating, of course, who the buyer of those assets would be. There was a report in Bloomberg. I was advised there was a report in Dow Jones Newswire. There’s an article in the Express yesterday and the Guardian today, Business Guardian, are carrying a lot of news about it.
The minister said Bloomberg reported that the Chinese company Sinopec was one of the buyers, while another media said it might be Shell, a company that is well known to T&T.
Describing the LNG business in Trinidad as very “lucrative”, Ramnarine said Government was awaiting formal notification of the sale from Repsol.
Ramnarine said an article in yesterday’s Business Guardian, headlined, T&T not seeking to acquire Repsol’s stake in Atlantic, stated that T&T was not interested in Repsol’s LNG assets.
“That statement is attributed to me by the Guardian. I never said that to the Guardian. I will add that NGC is a shareholder in Train I and Train IV and, as a shareholder, has certain rights and privileges, so it is very premature to comment, to make any definitive statement about that matter. Of course, that matter is still very sensitive and complicated. We are keeping an eye on it and we are keeping communication with Repsol.”
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