Following a groundswell of public pronouncements and speculation over an announced visit to Guyana by Trinidad and Tobago (TT) Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley for the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding on energy cooperation, the TT entourage will arrive this morning in the South American country for a brief visit and the much anticipated signing.
OilNOW understands that Dr Rowley will be accompanied by a number of officials including five ministers in his government.
The document to be signed is a ‘Memorandum of Understanding on Energy Sector Cooperation’. According to Guyana’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs; the Framework Agreement which was signed in 1999 had expired in 2009 and was renewed for 10 years in December 2017.
A few weeks ago, the Government of the Twin-Island Republic announced the closure of Petrotrin’s refinery operations at Pointe-à-Pierre in the south of Trinidad due to the facility being a drain on the economy and its unsustainable debt levels. The closure was believed to be seismic in the impact it would create for the surrounding communities and the Caribbean country as a whole. Shortly after the announcement of the closure, PM Rowley made comments during a public forum in Trinidad that the impending signing of the MoU with Guyana will open up opportunities for Trinidadian companies in the oil and gas sector.
A number of stakeholders in Guyana were swift to voice their concerns about the MoU and the potential impact it could have on Guyanese businesses, in the absence of a local content framework.
Guyana Foreign Affairs Minister Carl Greenidge had subsequently related to the media that the document being signed is not necessarily an invitation to Trinidadian companies. He said that the MoU paves the way for cooperation in oil and gas between the two states. “This move is consistent with our rights and obligations within CARICOM and in keeping with our relationship with Trinidad and Tobago. It is one of two agreements that that we share with the Twin Island Republic. The first, which was renewed earlier this year, is a platform on which we discuss all bilateral cooperation and the second to be signed [this] week is for cooperation in oil and gas,” the Minister said.
“The MOU on oil and gas is more for cooperation on a governance level than it is an invitation to Trinidadian companies, which already enjoy the rights to establish businesses here within the framework of free movement of goods and services under the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME),” he said.
The Guyanese Government has committed to making the MoU public.