PDVSA scandal will not affect T&T Dragon Gas Deal negotiations – Young 

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Trinidad and Tobago’s Energy Minister Stuart Young remains confident that the current PDVSA scandal will in no way affect its ongoing negotiations with Venezuela on the Dragon gas deal. 

Young was forced to comment after Venezuela’s Energy Minister, Tareck Al Assami – a key negotiator in the Dragon gas deal – stepped down from his post, as investigations continue into the missing US$21.2 billion from PDVSA invoiced shipments. 

The T&T Energy Minister took to Twitter to offer assurance that negotiations are still progressing as planned. 

“There have been numerous inquiries and even speculative misinformed commentary as to the effects of recent developments at PDVSA. None of these developments have affected or are expected to affect our ongoing discussions and negotiations with the Government of Venezuela or PDVSA,” he said. 

Negotiations into the Dragon gas deal were ongoing as of March 17 in Venezuela.

Last month, the US paved the way for the deal to go off without a hitch. The Dragon gas field is in Venezuelan waters and could see T&T gaining access to 350 million cubic feet of gas per day (mcf/d) – an amount that could give its natural gas production a considerable boost. Dragon holds 4.2 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of gas discovered on the Venezuela side of the maritime border by PDVSA. The arrangement is special. Per the agreed-upon conditions, Venezuela will be receiving no cash from the two-year deal. The benefits to Venezuela will be discussed during the negotiations.

But concerns arose about the future of the deal when the PDSVA scandal hit the news. 

Assami resigned on March 20. 

His replacement is Pedro Rafael Tellechea – who ran PDVSA. It was Tellechea who kick-started investigations, starting with an audit into heavy losses the company took in 2022 after oil tankers left the country’s EEZ without due payments. 

Police in Venezuela have apprehended two judges, a mayor, and three government officials; 20 persons have been arrested in total. 

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