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Barbados, Guyana expand in energy
Even as energy companies in T&T sector are reporting declines in revenue, Guyana and Barbados are putting measures in place to expand their energy sectors.
Energy Ministers from the two neighbouring countries were part of a special plenary on Caribbean regional energy integration at the recently concluded T&T Energy Conference at the Hyatt Regency in Port-of-Spain.
Darcy Boyce, Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister of Barbados, referring to the size of T&T’s energy sector, said: “Barbados does not expect to see a large development of the oil and gas industry. I don’t think it is a matter of absorbing (T&T’s workers who were laid off. Our energy sector is small and quite diversified.”
Boyce said in the long term the market will determine whether there is any change in the size of the island’s energy sector.
“Numbers are down now but, your Prime Minister was very clear to point out in his speech...how your country was able to manage and recover. I wouldn’t want to second guess your Prime Minister,” he said.
Boyce said integration across the Caribbean is happening “under our noses” and is going unnoticed. He said trends are showing that investors are moving from one Caribbean country into several Caribbean countries.
He added: “You see it in tourism, retail and in oil and gas a little bit, renewable industry and electricity as well.” He said incentives in solar energy existed before but are now being extended to other parts of the sector.
“We just decided that we will extend those same incentives...to encourage the generation of the renewable energy sector.
“Remember oil prices in 2008 went up to US$147 per barrel, and then came back down to close to US$100 per barrel for the better part of 2008,” Boyce said. He said Barbados is not interested in competing with the energy sectors in other Caribbean countries.
Raphael Trotman, Guyana’s Minister of Governance, natural Resources and Environment, said that country is looking to fill the loopholes T&T left out but competing with T&T or Caricom is not on the cards.
Asked whether Guyana could be the next energy powerhouse in the Caribbean, Trotman said: “I see us assuming a role, as we’ve always tried to do, as a good member of Caricom. We don’t want to play power politics because we are brothers and sisters.”
He added that it is about working in an integrated way to find synergies and competing is not an option.