Venezuela & Trinidad fail to come to agreement on gas supply

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Ministers of Venezuela and Trinidad & Tobago met in Caracas this week in an effort to hammer out a contract to send gas from Venezuela’s Dragon Field to Trinidad for conversion into LNG so that it can be shipped worldwide.

According to a report in the Latin American Herald Tribune, Venezuela’s Oil Minister and head of the state oil company Petróleos de Venezuela, SA (PDVSA), Manuel Quevedo, hosted Trinidad Minister Stuart Young from the Ministry of the Legal Affairs and Prime Minister’s Office. They met for hours on Tuesday to hash out the agreements on gas signed between both countries.

The Agreement contemplates the supply of natural gas from Venezuela’s developing offshore natural gas field to Trinidad.

That routing would entail Venezuela connecting into Shell’s platform and Trinidad’s network in Trinidad’s neighboring Hibiscus gas field.

Mark Loquan, president of the National Gas Company of Trinidad and Tobago Limited (NGC), Verlier Quan Vie, vice president of the Compañía Nacional de Gas; Paul Byam, Ambassador of Trinidad and Tobago to the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela; Selwyn Lashley, strategic advisor to the Minister of Energy and Energy Industries; Dereck Hudson, president of Shell Trinidad and Tobago; and Luis Prado, president of Shell Venezuela were all part of the discussions.

In addition to Quevedo, Douglas Sosa, vice minister of gas; Nemrod Contreras, Vice President of Gas; and Marcos Rojas, Vice President of International Affairs of PDVSA also participated for the Venezuelan side.

“The parties spent hours negotiating today in Caracas bringing the possibility of the across border gas deal closer,” Trinidad’s Prime Minister’s office reported. “There remain a number of areas where further work is required and Minister Young agreed to return to Caracas, Venezuela in two weeks for the two Ministers to attempt to settle the terms of the agreement.”

Insiders tell the Latin American Herald Tribune (LAHT) that the two sides were unable to finalize the agreement over a dispute about price.

“The problem for Venezuela is that they essentially have nowhere to go with their gas, having failed to follow through on a Memorandum of Understanding with Shell to develop the Mariscal Sucre gas project signed almost 2 decades ago, which even included plans for a Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) plant in Venezuela,” said Russ Dallen, head of investment bank Caracas Capital. “Trinidad literally has Venezuela over a barrel.”

“Minister Young extended an invitation for Minister Quevedo to come to Trinidad to visit the LNG plant

and other downstream petrochemical operations,” reports Trinidad’s Prime Ministerial office. “All parties involved remain committed to the Dragon Gas Project becoming a reality.”