Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 4th 2015 Contents JUNE 2015 • WEEK ONE www.guardian.co.tt BUSINESS GUARDIAN
ENERGY | BG9
President of Methanex
Trinidad, Charles Percy,
has told the Business
Guardian that he is wait-
ing on the findings of the
natural gas master plan to
point to a solution for the
continued natural gas
shortages that have plagued the downstream
sector since 2012.
Speaking on Tuesday from Dallas, Texas
where he is taking part in Methanex annual
global planning meetings, Percy confirmed
that the Point Lisas Industrial Estate continued
suffer from natural gas challenges with cur-
tailment of between 10 and 15 per cent.
"It is no secret that there continues to be
natural gas shortages of the magnitude of
between 10 and 15 per cent and there is no
end in sight, at least not in the short run.
However, I await the findings of the natural
gas master plan to see what they see as a res-
olution to the problem. The consultants would
have had the opportunity to speak to the issues
since they would have spoken to the gamut
of players from upstream to midstream to
downstream and would therefore be in the
best position to point the way forward."
The government hired consultants to come
up with a plan following all the challenges in
the sector and continued declining proven
On Monday, Governor of the Central Bank
Jwala Rambarran said he expected that the
energy sector performance to be flat and that
curtailment was likely to continue.
Energy Minister Kevin Ramnarine has
repeatedly changed the deadline and now he
is saying it will not become better before 2017.
Meanwhile, Opposition Leader Dr Keith
Rowley recently told the Energy Chamber that
should the PNM form the next government
it will not sacrifice older petrochemical plants
in favour of new plants as it grapples with the
continued shortage of natural gas. This assur-
ance was given to the downstream industry
at a luncheon hosted by the Energy Cham-
Dr Rowley said there have been indicators
coming from the Persad-Bissessar led admin-
istration that one of the ways to deal with the
natural gas curtailment was to ensure the gas
went to the most efficient plants which meant
that the older plants would have to make way
for more modern petrochemical plants.
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 had already led the
country into arbitration with investors who
had committed to building an aluminum indus-
try.He said the challenge of gas curtailment
cannot be wished away and estimated the
country had already lost $10 billion in revenues.
He added the private sector has also been
Rowley described it as an impending crisis
which has impugned the reputation of T&T
as a reliable gas supplier and action had to be
taken to get the additional gas behind pipe.
PLEA's Ian Welch
Older plants are
His message was welcomed by the down-
streamers with president of the Point Lisas
Executives Association, Ian Welch, saying the
issue was a major one for the sector.
"Dr Rowley dealt with the issue head on. It s
one that is of significant importance to our
sector and we are gratified and pleased to see
that its receiving attention and recognition and
will be on the front burner of the nation s agen-
da."Welch confirmed that there are times that
the gas shortage has been as high as 25 per
cent. In an interview with the Business Guardian,
Welch said, "We have a curtailment of upwards
of ten 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 rein-
vest. For example, in our facility 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, while there may be
differences in technology, I can tell you we
always spend money to upgrade and keep ahead.
You have to, otherwise you will fall by the way-
side because you have become an unsafe oper-
Methanex's Charles Percy:
Solution to shortage
expected with master gas plan
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