Energy Minister Stuart Young has revealed that he has given a ten-year horizon for crude oil production in the midst of the increasing global pressure for the world to move away from the production of fossil fuels, in particular oil and coal.

Speaking on Monday during the 2022 budget debate Young told the Parliament that the government was pursuing an aggressive oil and gas strategy recognising that oil in the ground is worthless and we need to produce the hydrocarbons fast.

“As the Minister of Energy and Energy Industries I have told our sector, we will push up oil production in T&T, with a horizon of 2028 to 2030. So we recognise that there may be a limited shelf-life for oil production globally. We are, however, in the meantime, I hope the former speaker is listening, we are focused on increasing our oil production as I hear her say, oil in the ground, gas in the ground is of no value, you have to monetise it,” Young told the Parliament.

The Energy Minister noted that changes have been taking place rapidly in the global energy sector as the world and developed nations are pressured to move away from fossil fuels with an increased reliance on renewables, in particular on wind and solar energy.

Young told the Upper House, “We have seen declarations of desires to use greener, cleaner energy. In fact, in a couple weeks time, our Prime Minister will lead a delegation from T&T to COP 26 which is a gathering of global leaders to discuss climate change and there will be effects of these discussions and decisions taken, some already that have been taken on the global energy sector.”

The world’s major oil and gas companies have been pressured by their shareholders to move to a net-zero carbon future. BPTT has already insisted that it has changed its business model away from oil, with the decision not to invest in any oil production now from places it is not already operating and to focus on gas as a transition fuel, but ultimately on renewables in what it says is a new integrated energy approach.

Exxon made changes to its board of directors as influential shareholders insisted the company was moving too slowly to address the challenge of climate change.

Young pointed to the strategy of utilising small operators to produce from stripper wells in acreage owned by State-owned Heritage as a continued viable way to increase on-land production.

He said, “And the way we go about increasing our oil production, Madam President, is Heritage, our state-owned company has been mandated to take certain tracks to be able to increase their oil production, I have also been utilising farm-outs, and an increased amount of farm-outs and lease-outs.

“In fact, since being the Minister of Energy and Energy Industries, this morning, I signed another lease-out, and there is a number of increased farm-outs and lease-outs to give persons the opportunity, especially at this time when oil prices are very high globally, for persons to get into the ground, and pull up our resources, our liquid resources.”

The Energy Minister said he also expected that the partnership between American oil and gas company EOG Resources and Heritage would bear fruit with increased production in the coming years.

“I am happy to report to the country that we had the foresight to allow EOG and Heritage to enter into a recent joint venture, where they expect in the next couple years to increase significantly the oil production in T&T out of Heritage’s finds. BHP has also had some recent success” the Energy Minister told the Parliament.

Young said while the world moves away from fossil fuels he was confident that both oil and, in particular, gas have a future.

He argued, “The current fossil fuels used are coal, oil and gas. The first one that is contributing to the global energy warming crisis is coal.

“And that’s the first one that the global energy sector, and the developed countries are moving away from, oil and gas have a much longer horizon, the horizon for oil may be more limited as I’ll discuss, than natural gas. Oil production, as I said a short while ago, we are pushing to increase oil production in T&T because we recognise the world is moving further and further away from oil but it’s not going to disappear overnight. So Heritage has been mandated we’re looking at increased oil production.”

Minister Young insisted that the government had a plan to grow the energy sector and part of that plan meant making available additional blocks in bid rounds. He said it was not a case of simply offering acreage for bids, but rather ensuring this country could be competitive.

“We have bid rounds coming out. We recognise, I think the previous senator was talking, we need to understand the change globally and we do, we recognise that we have to be competitive.

“So you are going to see fiscal changes taking place, you’re going to see us look at the royalties, we’re looking at the SPT, we’re looking at the PPT because we recognise that in the next bid-round we need to be successful, to keep T&T alive as a province in this changing global environment, especially where we have Guyana and Suriname with significantly bigger reserves being found of oil,” he ended.