T&T at risk of losing Caricom countries as a market for oil & gas

Date: 
Thursday, January 28, 2016 - 00:00

A report in the Demerara Waves newspaper says Guyana is considering joining a list of other Caribbean countries in search of another fuel supplier in order to reduce reliance on Trinidad and Tobago, now that Venezuela’s PetroCaribe has dried up as a fuel source.

The newspaper quotes Minister of Public Infrastructure, David Patterson, who, according to the newspaper report, said he was "aware that several sister Caribbean Community (Caricom)-member states were concerned about the ability of Trinidad and Tobago’s state-oil company to supply the entire region".

“With PetroCaribe the pressure was off but now having Trinidad as the primary source of petroleum for the entire Caribbean…there is a concern by the major bigger countries; they would like a bit more energy security,” he said.

The newspaper says that the newly-appointed Guyana Energy Agency Board has been tasked with considering a paper by the agency’s Chief Executive Officer, Mahender Sharma to ensure that Guyana has another energy source. 

“The issue is energy security," Sharma said

"You don’t want to be over-reliant on one supplier. Trinidad is serving the entire region now."

The newspaper continues to quote Sharma;

"From a price competitive perspective, the prices from Venezuela were better, they were lower, Trinidad has its own posting so it is not really referenced to market price so that presents some complications. The prices may be a bit on the higher end but the real issue is security. If the plant shuts down for whatever reason, whether technical or otherwise you want to have options to source fuel.”

The newspaper notes that long before Venezuela stopped selling Guyana fuel under the PetroCaribe agreement, Guyana had been buying 50 percent of its fuel from Trinidad and Tobago.

Now that the world oil price has plummeted to US$34.28 per barrel (Thursday’s price), other sister Caricom member-states are no longer benefiting from  Venezuela’s low-interest PetroCaribe deal.

The newspaper says that Minister Patterson, who has responsibility for the energy sector, declined to name the countries that have asked Caricom for a waiver of the Common External Tariff (CET) to allow them to but fuels from outside the region.

SOURCE: http://demerarawaves.com

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