Geisha Kowlessar-Alonzo, Guardian
EnergiesNet.com 01 31 2023
Collaboration between the government and energy sector stakeholders must be sustained to ensure this country gets the best value for money going forward.
These were among some of the key points discussed during the closing session of the T&T Energy Conference titled, Navigating a Complex Energy Future in which varied reflections of the three-day event were brought to the fore.
Shaun Rampersad, chief operating officer, Ramps Logistics, who was among the panel emphasised the importance of energy security, saying that every molecule of hydrogen which sits in the ground remains a diminishing asset for this country.
“The importance of collaboration; us in the private sector the Government, the upstreamers, the downstreamers, the midstreamers… how do we work together to ensure that capital gets to the best projects and how do we ensure that our best prospects in this country whether they lie within Trinidad or on the Venezuelan border, how do we produce these prospects as quickly as possible,” Rampersad explained, emphasising that the longer the molecules remains undiscovered the less value T&T will receive from it.
According to Rampersad this country must produce as much as it can, as quickly as it can and then invest those revenues in the industry for the future.
“We spoke a lot about hydrogen and I think that’s the start of the next industry,” Rampersad added.
Another key aspect, according to T&T Energy Chamber Chairman Jerome Dookie, is the shortfall in gas supply which continues to be a challenge for the sector.
Dr Joseph Ishmael Khan, chairman of The National Gas Company of T&T Ltd, who echoed similar sentiments noted that T&T is in a state of energy transition and within that there is value creation and value sustainability, and therefore, a need to look at policy reform.
“At the level of monetary reform, tax reform, fiscal incentive,” Khan explained, adding that another big takeaway from the conference was the use of technology as an enabler as T&T moves into this period.
This year’s conference recorded 700-plus attendees, covering a vast range of participants across the industry also including those regionally.
In this light, social interaction and linkages are important, said Gregoire de Courcelles, general manager, Perenco T&T.
“And it’s how we make things progress through these social interactions,” de Courcelles explained.
Over the last couple of years COVID forced the conference to be held virtually. The role of energy security was also underscored during the event.
Surging temperatures in North America and Europe alongside geopolitical pressures including the ongoing war in Ukraine continue to focus on the need for energy security.
Hence Khan said it’s not only important to manage geopolitics strategically but also to do so with sensitivity.
Earlier this week the United States Government granted a licence allowing T&T to develop the Dragon Gas Field in Venezuelan territorial waters.
The deal, which involved the development of cross-border gas from Venezuela’s Dragon Gas Field, was signed in August 2018.
It was shelved after the Trump administration imposed sanctions on Venezuela’s PDVSA.
Like other entities de Courcelles described the waiver of the sanction as a very key milestone for T&T, however, he also noted that this will take time to deliver.
“We are not talking about two or three years. It’s probably in the range of ten years. It could be a bit earlier but in any case it shouldn’t slow down the pace of delivering projects in T&T,” Perenco’s GM advised.
He further recommended that this should neither stymie the pace at which projects are approved nor the rate of discovering new resources.
“Because it really happens now,” de Courcelles said adding, “It’s now that the window of available capacity is present when Venezuelan gas is coming into the system…it’s really now that we should deliver projects and work on projects.”
Additionally, he said for Perenco as a mainstream producer and for the services industry, the Dragon deal is excellent as it also gives a vision, which is not always available.
“It is something which from time to time, is lacking a bit …and which made a few companies leave the country. It’s very important for us, upstream producers, to have this level of excellence within the service companies and the variety of services provided,” de Courcelles said.
He added that competition also brings that level of quality to the very top of organisations.
“It’s absolutely essential if you want to properly deliver our project; properly, safely and within the cost so this decision and this news will somehow impact that in the coming two, three, four years.
“This is what will impact our activity as an upstream producer in T&T for the next years,” de Courcelles added.
In highlighting the work of the T&T Energy Chamber in speeding up that process for stakeholders, Dookie maintained that talks remain key.
“What we have been doing is we have the conversations with the different ministries, state agencies and regulatory bodies among others…there has to be a coordinated approach to certain things and where we identify the need for several approvals to move a project forward where as traditionally, things would have been done sequentially,” Dookie also the Managing Director of Methanol Holdings (Trinidad) Ltd, Caribbean Nitrogen Company Ltd and Nitrogen (2000) Unlimited, members of the Proman family of companies said.
According to Dookie, getting from a concept to an idea or a first sense that there’s gas-through technology- and bringing it to production; it makes a huge difference if one or two years can be cut off of that project.
“Within our own borders there’s gas we can bring to market a lot faster through the approvals process,” Dookie said, emphasising that the Chamber will continue to advocate and encourage discussions, identify areas which can be approved and continue to build on successes while also examining lessons to be learnt.
He also referenced the time it took to bring the Lightsource BP project to signing.
In December 2022, a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) between the T&T Electricity Commission (T&TEC) and the consortium partners for the country’s first utility-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) project was signed.
T&TEC and a consortium comprising bpTT, Shell T&T and Lightsource BP signed the agreement to develop two solar power plants at Brechin Castle and Orange Grove, providing 112 megawatts (MW) of power.
The project is located across two sites, Brechin Castle (92MW), and Orange Grove (20MW) and construction is set to commence on both sites in the first quarter of 2023, and is expected to be operational in the third quarter and fourth quarter of 2024.
guardian.co. tt 01 20 2023