The energy sector of Guyana’s closest Caribbean island neighbor – Trinidad and Tobago – is traversing a slippery slope according to a former energy minister in the twin island republic. He believes a change in direction is urgently needed if this is to be halted.
In a comment on his LinkedIn page on Thursday, former Minister of Energy and Energy Affairs, Kevin Ramnarine said, “We have progressively moved from a spirit of collaboration to one of confrontation. Trinidad needs to take note of what happened in Argentina and Venezuela with their respective industries. We need the Multi-nationals for their capital, technology and know-how. I agree that the State must get a fair return for its oil and gas but we must remember that sanctity of contract is a fundamental pillar of modern commerce.”
Further commenting on the ability of government to intervene in and restructure agreements, he said, “How is the Government going to restructure the commercial architecture at Atlantic when most of the contracts between the Atlantic companies and the LNG off-takers are contracts between two private parties? Yesterday was a continuation of a pattern that we saw at the last energy conference and in different budget speeches. The energy sector is being made into a bogey man.”
Mr. Ramnarine has been speaking out increasingly in recent weeks about the state of Trinidad and Tobago’s energy sector and what he believes are shortcomings at the policy level. “All the major multi-nationals operating in T&T were soundly bashed by members of the current Government. The Minister of Energy led the charge in painting the multi-nationals in a most negative light, he stated.
The former Energy Minister has said the country must be careful that the business environment isn’t turning overly hostile towards multi-national oil and gas corporations. “It seems the “take your platform and go” thinking is not limited to the labour unions. I am hearing some worrying things.”
The twin island republic has been a central player in Guyana’s emerging oil and gas industry particularly in the area of supply services for offshore operations in the South American country where in excess of 3.2 billion barrels of oil have so far been discovered.