Sunday, September 24, 2023

Trinidad wants US to amend sanction waiver on Venezuela for Dragon gas deal

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Trinidad and Tobago wants the United States government to make changes to the terms of a waiver that authorised the joint development of an offshore gas field with Venezuela, according to the Caribbean nation’s Minister of Energy. 

The waiver, issued by the US in January, gave birth to a two-year license, authorising Trinidad and a group of companies, including Venezuela’s state-run oil firm PDVSA and Anglo-Dutch Shell (SHEL.L), to revive the dormant Dragon gas field project. It has the potential to enhance Trinidad’s gas production and increase exports to neighbouring countries.

However, the authorisation for the project, situated near the maritime border between Trinidad and Venezuela, imposes restrictions on any cash payments to the government of Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro or its state-owned entities.

To address the proposed modifications, Trinidad’s Prime Minister Keith Rowley and Energy Minister Stuart Young held a meeting with US Vice President Kamala Harris in Washington last month. Minister Young, speaking to Reuters on the sidelines of the 7th International Energy Summit in Miami, highlighted that the requested changes pertain to the financial terms. He acknowledged that such negotiations in the energy sector can be intricate, but refrained from providing further details.

It is anticipated that Trinidad and Venezuela will convene later this month to initiate discussions on the commercial terms of the Dragon project. Previous meetings between the parties have involved signing confidentiality agreements and deliberating technical aspects.

Over the past year, the US has eased certain sanctions on Venezuela by issuing or modifying specific licenses, aiming to foster political negotiations leading to presidential elections in the country. 

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