The Government of T&T and the Government of Venezuela have signed a non-disclosure agreement with the Veneuzelan government in the next step of the ongoing negotiations to activate the Dragon Gas field in Venezuelan.
It comes as Minister of Energy Stuart Young made his third trip to Caracas since February when the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) granted T&T waiver from sanctions, opening the door to do business with Venezuela.
Young wrote on his Facebook page, “We executed a confidentiality agreement (non-disclosure agreement) which governs the negotiations between the parties and the exchange of information as we progress the technical and commercial aspects of the planned development.”
He said the T&T included the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries, Pennelope Bradshaw Niles, president of NGC Mark Loquan, T&T’s Ambassador to Venezuela Major General (Ret’d) Edmund Dillon, and other members from NGC’s executive.
Eugene Okpere, senior vice president of Shell T&T and other members of Shell also joined the delegation.
According to Young, Venezuela’s team was led by President of PDVSA Pedro Rafael Tellechea, who was supported by vice presidents of PDVSA and other key members of PDVSA.
Young has been very tight lipped about his trips and the state of negotiations. Speaking at a post-Cabinet news conference last month, Young hinted they had managed to allay concerns by the Maduro government over the lack of cash payments in the deal, although he didn’t say how. He, at the time, also said there was nothing in the deal which concerned or worried the government of T&T.
Speaking at a news conference in Port-of-Spain in January, Prime Minister Keith Rowley said T&T expects to gain access to 350 million cubic feet of gas per day from the Dragon field.
He said he applied for the license in mid-2022 and won approval after discussing it with top US officials, including President Joe Biden, while also keeping open a channel of communication with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.
Venezuela’s State energy company, PDVSA, found reserves of 4.2 trillion cubic feet (TCF) in Dragon, on the Venezuelan side of its maritime border with Trinidad.
T&T is eager to facilitate the development of the Dragon gas field to buttress its declining output of natural gas, which has long been the largest source of foreign exchange for the domestic economy.
The licence will allow PDVSA, Shell and Trinidad to jointly plan and develop a gas-exporting project after agreeing to pending details in coming days.
A portion of the resulting gas must be exported to Jamaica and the Dominican Republic, according to the two-year licenses terms, Rowley said.