Royal Dutch Shell, the company that is in partnership with the National Gas Company to purchase and transport natural gas from Venezuela’s Dragon Field, has said it will comply with all laws that may apply to the deal.
In an address to the Energy Conference at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, the company’s General Manager, Non-Operated Venture, Jenna Joseph, acknowledged that Shell was concerned with the ongoing political strife in the neighbouring South American country and was worried about the fate of Shell employees working in the Bolivarian Republic.
She said: “We also cannot ignore the severity of what is currently taking place in our neighbouring Venezuela. We are closely monitoring events and remain hopeful that the situation can be resolved peacefully. Our priority remains our colleagues who reside in that country and we remain in close contact with them. Throughout this period we are also going to fully comply with all applicable laws and trade controls.”
T&T and Venezuela have been in negotiations for the purchase of gas from Venezuela to be used to supply both the petrochemical plants on the Point Lisas Industrial Estate and for export from Atlantic LNG’s terminal in Point Fortin.
Both countries have so far signed a Heads of Government Agreement but the vital Gas Sales Agreement is yet to be inked.
Shell lauded the deal saying it was a marquee achievement and a positive step in natural gas security.
“The historic signing last August of an agreement between the governments of Trinidad and Tobago and Venezuela for the delivery of gas to our Hibiscus platform facilities was a marquee achievement and represented a positive step toward increasing our gas fortunes. That said, and while we continue to work with both governments and our other stakeholders, we are equally aware that this is but one step in a series of steps and there is still a great deal to be done to bring the Dragon deal to reality. “Joseph argued.
Only recently the Trump administration placed additional sanctions on Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro and on the country’s state-owned company, Petroles De Venezuela Sud America, PDVSA. These are the second set of sanctions placed on Venezuela and they effectively froze all of PDVSA’s assets in the US and require that any money made in deals between the company and US firms be held in escrow accounts that will be inaccessible as long as Maduro remains in power.
In addition to making it harder for Venezuela to export oil, the sanctions also make it harder and more expensive for US companies to send fuel products known as diluents in the other direction.
Since the first set of sanctions were imposed Shell had removed all its US personnel from the project and moved administrative control to T&T from Houston.
The T&T government said it was seeking advice if the sanctions were likely to impact this country.