Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 23rd 2015 Contents APRIL 2015 • WEEK FOUR www.guardian.co.tt BUSINESS GUARDIAN
ENERGY | BG9
Should the PNM form the next
government it will not sacrifice
older petrochemical plants in
favour of new plants as it grap-
ples with the continued shortage
of natural gas. This was the assurance given
to the downstream industry by Opposition
Leader Dr Keith Rowley who told a luncheon
hosted by the Energy Chamber last week that
the PNM rejected such a policy.
Dr Rowley said there have been indicators
coming from the Persad-Bissessar adminis-
tration that one of the ways to deal with the
natural gas curtailment was to ensure that
the gas went to the most efficient plants
which meant that the older plants would
have to make way for more modern petro-
The Opposition Leader s argument was
that such an approach would lead to a loss
of investor confidence and would come at a
time when the government has already led
the country into arbitration with investors
who had committed to building an aluminium
He said the challenge of gas curtailment
cannot be wished away and estimated that
the country had already lost $10 billion in
revenues and the private sector has also been
The Opposition Leader described it as an
impending crisis which has impugned the
reputation of Trinidad and Tobago as a reliable
gas supplier and action had to be taken to
get the additional gas brought onshore.
His message was welcomed by the down-
streamers with the president of the Pont Lisas
Executives Association, Ian Welch, saying
the issue was a major one for the sector.
He said, "Dr Rowley dealt with the issue
head on. It s one that is of significant impor-
tance for our sector and we are gratified and
pleased to see that its receiving attention and
recognition and will be on the frontburner
of the nation s agenda."
Welch confirmed that there are times that
the gas shortage has been as high as 25 per
In an interview with BG, Welch said, "We
have a curtailment of upwards of 10 per cent.
Depending on the kind of activity onshore
and offshore, it can fluctuate in that kind of
range so it is an accurate reflection of what
the situation is."
He also dismissed the suggestion that the
older plants were a drain on the system and
that they were inefficient.
"In our type of business we continually
reinvest, for example, in our facilities. Now
we have a very significant investment going
on as we speak, so if you ask me today, what
is the age of our facility or what is the life
expectancy I would tell you indefinite and
that is because of the continuous reinvestment.
"The rhetoric between older and newer
plants, yes there may be differences in tech-
nology but I can tell you we always spend
money to upgrade and keep ahead. You have
to otherwise you will fall by the wayside
because you have become an unsafe operation,"
Welch told BG.
Welch acknowledged that shale gas con-
tinues to impact the global petrochemicals
industry but said he was not worried about
"There is lots of investments in the United
States, lots of competition, but we try not
to worry about competition. We try to do
what we do to the best of our ability so, no
matter what the competition, we are able
to do well. So our thrust is to ensure that
our plants remain competitive and once we
are competitive we are sure we can remain
On the issue of low petrochemical prices,
Welch said it is the nature of the energy
sector and he was concerned that the country
was not having the right conversation as it
relates to energy prices.
"We live in a cyclical business. We are in
a down cycle now and, in my career, I have
seen several and we can ride out of it with
the right focus and management."
Welch added: "Everybody asks me about
when do I see oil coming back up, and the
conversation is when its coming back up
and where it is going to get to.
"That should not be the conversation.
The conversation should be what are we
doing about it to survive in the current sit-
Older plants will not be sacrificed
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