It was clear there was more than one reason that yesterday was truly Private Members’ Day in Parliament—the day for Opposition business. And the Opposition didn’t hesitate to show it.
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Shell execs: Positive outlook for T&T energy
LONDON—The growth of multinational energy company Shell in T&T was central to discussions on Monday, when High Commissioner to the United Kingdom Garvin Nicholas met with officials from the company, Carlos Ibarguen, head of government relations for Latin America and the Caribbean, Luis Prado, head of Shell Operations in T&T, and Charlotte Gibson, government relations advisor.
Prado told the High Commissioner that following Shell’s acquisition of Repsol’s stake in Atlantic, the company was keen to advance its portfolio in T&T, where in 2013 it celebrated 100 years of uninterrupted activity. Ibarguen said the acquisition provided Shell with a vital link into the medium-stream space which could potentially introduce options for possible upstream activity. He said while T&T had long been on Shell’s radar for increased investment, the country’s revised fiscal regime had bolstered the company’s interest.
Prado also emphasised Shell’s confidence in measures being adopted by the Government, stating his belief that T&T’s oil and gas sector was moving in the right direction. “Trinidad and Tobago must retain its competitiveness, particularly with the increasing level of activity within the region,” he said.
Nicholas and Prado also discussed T&T’s numerous advantages within the region, particularly its political and economic stability and its vast experience in the gas and more so the pil industries.Prado also praised T*T’s implementation of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), noting that currently Peru is the only EITI compliant country in Latin America.
The High Commissioner and his guests also discussed potential adverse influences on T&T’s energy sector, in particular the US shale gas revolution and concern about possible ‘brain-drain’ of highly qualified and experienced staff into more attractive propositions in oil and gas operations across the globe.
Prado said TT&T has demonstrated its resilience as its economy had not suffered adversely, despite having been the largest single supplier of LNG to the US prior to the rise of shale gas. With regard to a perceived brain drain, Nicholas said Government recognised the high demand for trained engineers and operators and had taken the necessary measures to increase the output of such graduates.
“We are addressing this issue via high quality programmes at the University of the West Indies in St Augustine and the University of Trinidad and Tobago,” he said. “Trained personnel in the oil and gas industry is in fact a lucrative export product for Trinidad and Tobago. It would be ideal for Shell to target foreign-based Trinbagonian personnel who may be willing to return home and work in our local sector.”