Former energy minister disagrees with IMF’s positive outlook for Trinidad economy

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Trinidad and Tobago’s economy got a favourable outlook from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for 2023, seen as a positive sign that it is slowly recovering after years of struggling. 

But its former Minister of Energy, Kevin Ramnarine disagrees.

“The International Monetary Fund says the T&T economy will grow by 3% in 2023. They predicate this assumption on 2.9% growth in the energy sector. I do not see it. This would mean natural gas production in 2023 would have to exceed natural gas production for 2022,” he wrote in a public post on LinkedIn. 

He had said Trinidad’s 2021 production levels were the lowest in 18 years.

In 2022, the situation was so dire that Prime Minister Keith Rowley said the quality of life for Trinidians would be at risk if no new gas projects come online soon. 

“Without the earnings from [oil, gas and petrochemicals], our budgetary arrangements would be extremely challenging and dire,” the Prime Minister had underscored. “So, it is in the interest of Trinidad and Tobago to ensure that the best arrangements are in place in these three areas – we have to understand that we are still heavily dependent…”

And Ramnarine believes that the productions this year will remain the same. 

“As for oil production, it continues its slow downward march. I do not see oil production in 2023 surpassing that of 2022,” he said. 

Trinidad’s National Gas Company will also be receiving first gas from the Cascadura natural gas and associated liquids facility on or about June 30, 2023. Trinidad recently got the go-ahead from the US to kick start the Dragon gas deal with Venezuela. Negotiations are underway and current Energy Minister Stuart Young anticipates gas flow in two years tops, once negotiations progress smoothly.

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