Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 30th 2015 Contents The next government could face
serious challenges in the man-
agement of the local energy
sector as next year almost the
entire team of senior tech-
nocrats at the Ministry of
Energy is due to retire.
Gone will be Permanent Secretary Selwyn
Lashley, its chief technical officer Richard
Jeremy, its senior analyst Randy Maurice and
its head of commercial evaluation Ivor
Superville. In addition, its long standing legal
officer and former Deputy Permanent Sec-
retary Heidi Wong has been sent to the Min-
istry of Education and, even so, is due to retire
Well placed sources at the Ministry of Ener-
gy told the Business Guardian that the main
problem is that there are no clear replacements
because the ministry has not been successful
in retaining staff due to the fact that public
sector salaries are lower than compensation
paid in the private sector.
A look at the 2013/2014 compensation
report by HRC and Associates shows that the
average salary for a chief executive officer in
the local energy sector is $200,000 a month.
Compare that with the salary of a permanent
secretary which is close to $30,000 a month
or about 15 per cent the salary of the CEO
in the private sector.
In fact, when you look at the HRC report
the PS at the Ministry of Energy gets less
money than an average communications offi-
cer in the sector.
The departure of the senior public servants
means the loss of over a century of institu-
tional knowledge and could not come at a
worse time for the country as T&T is battling
with a gas shortage of 400 million cubic feet
per day, slumping oil and gas prices, low crude
production, deepwater drilling to begin in
2016 and major negotiations for new gas con-
tracts with bpTT, BG and Atlantic LNG.
Former Permanent Secretary in the Ministry
of Energy, Andrew Jupiter, concedes that this
is a major challenge facing the next govern-
ment and he said the issue of attracting and
retaining talent at the ministry has been an
He said the Minister of Energy needs to go
to the Cabinet and seek a significant increase
in the professional allowance to the point
where when combined with salaries could
make the overall package attractive for pro-
fessionals at the ministry.
"When Finbar Gangar introduced the pro-
fessional allowance it was almost equivalent
to people s salaries at the time and it helped
retain talented people at the ministry. Unfor-
tunately, the allowance now is not good
enough and what is required is for the minister
to return to the Cabinet for a significant
increase in the allowance for the technical
people," Jupiter told the Business Guardian.
Jupiter, now a professor at the University
of the West Indies, explained that the addi-
tional money for the allowance could be easily
raised from the petroleum impost and the
administrative fees from the production shar-
Under the PSCs and the petroleum impost,
oil and gas companies pay an annual admin-
istrative fee that goes to the ministry s coffers.
In addition, the oil companies pays a per-
centage of the cost of running the ministry
on an annual basis, worked out in a formula
that takes into account annual production.
Professor Jupiter suggested that the petro-
leum impost should change to be calculated
on barrels of oil equivalent (BOE) and not just
on crude oil.
The former PS said he could not comment
on whether the Government should seek to
buy out the officers leave since there are
people in the ministry who may argue that
if they are given a chance they may be able
to do the job.
"In a way the situation of buyout of leave
is similar to the police service in that you will
hear people from within the organisations
saying, given a chance, they too can do the
job. What I will say is that there are a lot of
very talented people in the ministry. Many
of them are national scholarship winners and
almost all are on contract. You cannot become
a PS unless you are a permanent employee.
We need to make them permanent employees
and significantly increase their professional
The former PS at the Ministry of Energy
insisted that the permanent secretary in the
Ministry of Energy must be a technical per-
"The ministry is too complex and too many
decisions are based on technical assessment
for the PS not to be a technical person. This
is even more important if there is a minister
who is not technically inclined. Further, as
you know, many people from international
companies and countries visit the ministry
and meet with the PS and while the PS will
also have his or her technical team, there is
a need for someone with that breadth of tech-
nical knowledge and experience and man-
agement skills needed to run such a vital and
Professor Jupiter said the Ministry of Energy
is also a significant place to learn about the
industry and that there was a tradition of
identifying future leaders and sending them
to some of the best universities.
"Selwyn Lashley went on government
scholarship, Helena Innis, Vernon De Silva,
David Small, all of them went on government
scholarship and returned to serve their country.
The ministry has one of the largest training
budgets and this is so because in every pro-
duction sharing contract we insist on including
funding for scholarships. If we can get three
or five years from these people going on schol-
arships then we would have done well."
Professor Jupiter said succession planning
was also crucial and noted that wherever he
went he tried to ensure there was someone
to take his place.
"When I was at Planning, I identified Ver-
non De Silva to succeed me. When I was PS
at the ministry I identified Vernon and Selwyn
Lashley. When I was at the NEC, I identified
He said the idea of splitting the ministry
into an authority to allow it to better compete
with the private sector was a thought but he
doubted any minister would agree to devo-
lution of such control over the crucial energy
Jupiter said to solve the problem would
require thinking outside the box and suggested
that the Government could consider swapping
personnel between the ministry and state
companies to build experience.
JULY 30 • 2015 www.guardian.co.tt BUSINESS GUARDIAN
ENERGY | BG9
Iraq s southern oil exports have risen above 3.0 million
barrels per day (bpd) so far in July, according to loading data
and an industry source, setting shipments from OPEC s sec-
ond-largest producer on course for a monthly record.
The Iraqi boost is an indication of continued high output
from the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries,
which is focusing on keeping market share rather than curbing
supply to support prices.
Exports from Iraq s southern terminals averaged 3.06 million
bpd in the first 23 days of this month, up from a record 3.02
million bpd in all of June.
Shipments jumped in June after Iraq s decision to split the
crude stream into two grades, Basra Heavy and Basra Light,
to resolve quality issues. This has allowed some companies
working at Iraqi oilfields to increase production.
"It looks like another strong month above the 3 million
level," said the industry source, who tracks the exports. "It s
very impressive what they are doing."
The southern fields produce most of Iraq s oil. Located far
from the parts of the country controlled by Islamic State mil-
itants, they have kept pumping despite the conflict.
Shipments from Iraq s north via Ceyhan in Turkey have
remained steady despite tensions between Baghdad and the
Kurdistan Regional Government over budget payments.
The KRG, which says it has not received its share of revenues
from Baghdad, has boosted independent sales and cut allocations
to Iraq s State Oil Marketing Organisation, say trade and
Independent KRG exports averaged 520,000 bpd in the first
23 days of July, according to loading data, while SOMO has
exported one tanker and one pipeline shipment during the
month, or an average of 33,000 bpd.
Taken together, this means total northern shipments are
close to June s rate, even though exports under the SOMO
banner have slowed to a trickle.
Iraq s growth follows investment by Western oil companies
in the southern oilfields and an easing of export bottlenecks.
Risks include bad weather, technical problems and unrest.
Ministry to lose
...as four set to retire next year
Iraq's southern oil exports head for another record in July
Links Archive July 29th 2015 July 31st 2015 Navigation Previous Page Next Page