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Sunday, December 08, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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T&T’s best negotiators worked on Loran-Manatee
The agreement signed between T&T’s Energy Minister Kevin Ramnarine and Venezuela’s petroleum minister and PDVSA president Rafael Ramirez on September 11, was negotiated by the best in the public service, Ramnarine said in an interview on Tuesday at his ministry on the Port-of-Spain waterfront.
“I have high regard for the public servants who conducted and led that negotiation. In my opinion they were the best public servants in the Public Service, and they were at the helm of (the ministries of) Energy and Foreign Affairs,” he said. “We have some of the toughest negotiators in T&T here in this ministry. I would not like to be on the opposite side of the table.”
Ministry of Energy and Energy Affairs permanent secretary Selwyn Lashley, who also sat in on the interview, led the negotiation on the T&T side. Senior State Counsel Louise Poy Wing and National Energy Corporation president Andrew Jupiter also sat in on the interview at the minister's secretariat. He said the notion that T&T lost ten per cent in the September 11 signing is false.
“The 26.94 per cent of Loran-Manatee on our side of the border is subject to a production-sharing contract called the Block 6 production sharing contract (PSC) that was signed in 1974 and amended in 1993,” he explained. “Under the terms of that contract, the natural gas that will be produced has to be shared among: the Government of T&T, 16.97 per cent; and the two contractors, BGTT, 4.98 per cent; and Chevron Trinidad Inc, 4.98 per cent. If you add back those numbers, you get 26.94 (with some rounding).
“So therefore we have lost nothing. We have given away nothing. We have given up nothing. It is simply that the PSC terms allow for the sharing of production among the T&T entities.” The minister said T&T has long held the position that its 26.94 per cent must come to T&T. “It will come to T&T via a pipeline,” he said. PS Lashley and the NEC’s Jupiter confirmed that the pipeline would be built by BGTT and Chevron, at no cost to the State.
In a stand-up explanation of an energy map on the wall in his office, Ramnarine demonstrated that the nearest connection to T&T’s already existing infrastructure could take the gas to Atlantic (formerly Atlantic LNG) or the Petrotrin refinery, once a pipeline is built from Loran Manatee connecting to BGTT’s Dolphin or Dolphin Deep fields.
On the claim that Venezuela’s Ramirez articulated a plan while T&T’s Energy Minister did not, Ramnarine said both companies (BG and Chevron) have existing contracts, “or they may choose to have a discussion with the Government to monetise their gas in a different way. “But we have not reached that point because this agreement wasn’t about that. “The issue about T&T’s gas being piped to Venezuela is not an issue. That was never discussed. It was never a position of this Government,” he said.
In last week’s Sunday Guardian, Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley was highly critical of the agreement.
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