Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Concern mounting about future of T&T’s gas industry as Proman idles plants

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Concern is mounting in Trinidad and Tobago about the future of the country’s gas industry following the inability of the National Gas Company (NGC) and Methanol Holdings (Trinidad) Limited/Proman to successfully conclude negotiations on a new gas supply contract.

“Despite our very best efforts throughout March, I regret to inform you that we have been unable to secure an economically viable short-term gas supply contract for the month of April and therefore we have had to take the extremely difficult decision to idle our M4 and MSOOO plants, effective immediately,” Claus Cronberger, Managing Director of Proman Ltd. said on Thursday. “M2 and M3 will continue running on DeNovo gas only.”

Cronberger said in February, the company agreed to NGC terms for a short-term gas contract extension for March to facilitate continued operation of plants while discussions were ongoing. “Unfortunately, a significant increase in the NGC gas pricing for the month of April made the continued operation of our M4 and MSOOO plants economically unsustainable,” he pointed out.

“While we have reached the absolute limit of our flexibility on contract price and terms and conditions, we are continuing to take a solutions-orientated approach and engaging with the NGC and the Government,” Cronberger said.

The Managing Director further added that Proman has been committed to Trinidad and Tobago for over thirty years and is doing everything it can to maintain its commitment to employees and customers.

In a statement on Thursday, T&T’s Energy Chamber said it is deeply concerned about the future of the gas industry in the twin island republic and the utmost importance of the current consultation process underway between players in the gas value chain and the Government, facilitated by Gas Strategies.

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“It is important that this project leads to a clear policy and a clear strategy to encourage the continued investments needed across the value chain,” the Energy Chamber said.

The Chamber reminded that the gas industry has brought huge benefits to T&T and created significant wealth and good livelihoods for many citizens.  “Over the past half century Trinidad & Tobago has successfully built a gas value chain that allowed us to monetise our gas resources where many other countries have failed.”

Finding mechanisms to reshape the gas industry to make it robust and sustainable for the next fifty years while the country navigates the energy transition to a lower carbon future is vital, the Chamber pointed out.

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