Former Energy Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, Kevin Ramnarine said that natural gas production in 2021 was the lowest in 18 years. In a LinkedIn post, Ramnarine said it will require creative thinking to drive economic growth.
He said that despite the bump in revenues the country will get from current high gas prices and increased production this year, the production levels are not high enough.
“It seems going forward, it will be hard to keep the nation’s production above 3 billion cubic feet per day,” Ramnarine said.
Among the reasons for this is the closure of the Atlantic LNG Train 1 facility, as well as the closure of some gas plants at the Point Lisas industrial estate, and the “limping” of others, he pointed out.
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Hopes are being placed on Royal Dutch Shell to develop the 2.7 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) Manatee discovery, but Ramnarine noted that it has not been sanctioned yet by Shell.
While some hope that BHP, which is merging with Woodside, tap into deepwater gas, Ramnarine said this is still commercially uncertain.
And while others hope for there to be a deal for Venezuelan cross-border gas development, sanctions imposed on the Bolivarian Republic by the United States render such a venture elusive, Ramnarine noted.
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Considering this, he said it is very difficult to see how Trinidad will return the annual average national production level to more than 3 billion cubic feet per day anytime soon.
For years, Trinidad has been trapped in a cycle of declining growth. Officials in Guyana have identified the situation as an example of what not to do as Guyana’s oil and gas sector grows. They maintain that Guyana must diversify its economy, so it does not find itself in such a precarious situation as Trinidad, heavily dependent on hydrocarbon resources.