In outlining his plans should he become the next Prime Minister of T&T, Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley says he will strengthen diplomatic relations with Caricom and the international community so as to expand T&T's energy industry.Speaking on his intentions for the challenged energy sector at the Energy Chamber's conference at Cara Suites Hotel and Conference Centre yesterday, Rowley promised to open new doors for both state and private sector companies with the signing of several Memorandums of Understanding (MOU).
Special focus will be placed on the United States, United Kingdom, Venezuela, Ghana, Germany, China, Saudi Arabia, India and Caricom members.He hinted at seeking a possible MOU with the Barbados government for offshore hydrocarbon exploration with T&T being a processing market."We expect from a PNM standpoint to be the next government of Trinidad and Tobago and I commit very early to lead the requisite delegations to Ghana, in particular, where we lost some significant opportunities; Suriname, Guyana and Barbados to ensure we get those opportunities.
Especially in Suriname, Guyana and Barbados, I am going to make sure that we offer them a platform where we can work together so when they do put out the energy that we have now, Trinidad and Tobago can play a significant role in it, from use of our technical expertise," Rowley said.
He added, "With the advent of shale gas and the impact it will have on the global energy sector, the discovery of substantial natural gas reserves in Africa–Tanzania, over 60 tcf, Mozambique over 150 tcf–the development of new technologies that will allow natural gas to become the feedstock for products traditionally associated with oil such as transportation fuels, including diesel and gasoline [and] the plastic industry, Trinidad and Tobago may be presented an opportunity to increase its role in the global energy industry.
One of his challenges will be the remodelling of major state companies such as the National Gas Company and Petrotrin, which he said had spent substantial funds outside their core business that should have been used on investment programmes. He said key roles would be assigned to those companies in expanding the sector.
He also hinted at a human resource shake-up, saying that his government would put the best people to head state companies, while the Ministry of Energy and Energy Affairs would be staffed with experienced and qualified professionals.