Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 27th 2015 Contents AUGUST 27 • 2015 www.guardian.co.tt BUSINESS GUARDIAN
Authority of T&T (TATT) can-
not order a subscription tel-
evision provider to offer
rebates to its customers, said
chairman, Selby Wilson. This
comes as the Communications Workers Union
last Friday called for television subscription
providers who were providing illegal channels
to offer rebates to their customers. Flow has
already indicated that it would not be offering
any rebates to its customers.
TATT last Friday, also issued a public advi-
sory indicating that it was clamping down on
television providers who were not observing
the Intellectual Property Rights of content
providers for this region and that local cable
and satellite operators have until month end
September to remove the channels. A com-
mittee comprising members of the television
subscription providers set the deadline for
This prompted subscribers to demand
rebates for the illegal channels that they paid
for.But speaking to the media after the opening
ceremony of the Technology and Innovation
for the Digital Economy which was held at
Hilton hotel on Tuesday, Wilson said: "The
authority does not have the authority to enforce
a rate change on the broadcasters. But if when
we monitor the situation and there is an inves-
tigation, certainly we will be talking to the
operators to see what they can do, what we
will do to satisfy the consumers."
The clamp-down exercise has the potential
to change demand patterns in the market, said
Wilson as those operators who are more com-
petitive are likely to change their marketing
strategy so they can increase market share.
Responding to criticism that the authority
took too long to clamp down on providers
who were providing illegal television stations,
Wilson said the authority was justified in its
"If we had clamped down from day one,
then there would be no cable television oper-
ating in T&T. The law provides us to do what
is called regulatory forbearance where we fore-
bear while we attempt to regularise the content.
regularised. What we have remaining is the
residue of these 16 channels."
It's a zero tolerance approach when it comes
to the September month end deadline, Wilson
said. The smaller players will have a lengthier
deadline but the bigger players must stick to
"Without any doubt they are not going to
go past the deadline. We are going to be very
rigid on that. That's the drop-dead date. Some
of the rural communities they might have one
or two of the programmes. They might take
a little longer (for those channels) to come
down because in taking them down there are
some technical challenges I understand."
No job losses anticipated with the clamp-
down exercise, he said.
Chairman: TATT has no
say in rebates, rate changes
T&T has just over 8-and-a-half years of natural gas left if
the country continues to monetize the commodity at 2013
levels, according to a report in Natural Gas Intelligence (NGI)
The article noted that production of natural gas in the country
has been waning, as evidenced by liquefied natural gas (LNG)
output curtailments by Atlantic LNG announced recently.
The publication quoted an unnamed industry consultant as
suggesting that T&T would have more gas available to it if
terms are right for producers and/or a deal could be struck
with neighbouring Venezuela.
The consultant noted that there is natural gas under the
Gulf of Paria between Trinidad and Venezuela's eastern coast.
"All it takes to sort of ensure that Trinidad is an LNG and
methanol producer for the long, long term is for those two
countries to strike a deal. Those reserves are not being developed.
They're not earning revenue. They're not exporting that natural
gas, and so there would seem to be a convergence of interests
NGI surmised that it would come down to politics as to
whether Venezuela and Trinidad produce the gas in Venezuela
or whether it winds up in Trinidad's LNG and methanol pro-
The publication cited US Energy Information Administration
data, indicating that T&T's proved reserves have been falling
over the last 15 years. For the near term, though, T&T is expe-
riencing the consequences of being a multi-decade natural gas
producer: declining reserves.
According to the publication: "T&T's proved gas reserves
are at 13 Tcf, down from a peak of 26 Tcf in 2006. That leaves
just 8.6 years left of production, given T&T's 2013 production
rate. Production has plateaued in the last four years, running
between nearly 1.5 and 1.511 Tcf three of the last four years."
NGI sought out T&T's largest natural gas user, LNG exporter
Atlantic LNG, for reaction on how the curtailment in the coun-
try's production of natural gas was impacting on its four-train
liquefaction and export terminal in Point Fortin on the southwest
coast of Trinidad.
Atlantic LNG spokesman Billson Hainsley told NGI: "We
receive frequent updates from our gas suppliers and use this
information to adjust our production forecast and determine
the impact to our short-term shipping schedule, including
curtailments when necessary.
The amount of curtailment fluctuates on a daily basis. We
continue to work closely with our customers to mitigate impacts
from gas supply shortfalls." Hainsley did not provide details
on the volume of the production decrease or markets affect-
ed.T&T's "easy, cheap reserves" are in decline, the consultant
said. Additionally, there have been "fairly substantial" technical
problems in the gas patch that need to be worked out in order
for incremental production to come online, he added.
"They've been a producer for 30 years or so, 25 years...The
question is are they going to be a producer for the next 20 or
30 years, and I think that's the horizon you're looking at. There's
gas there for eight to 10 years with current reserves. The
question is, is there something they can do to maintain their
position in the much longer run," he said.
The government is faced with offering producers terms that
are attractive enough to incentivise exploration and production
in a world of depressed prices for natural gas and surfeit of
global LNG and methanol, thanks in part to production from
shale plays in the United States.
"It's not a great time to be trying to encourage a lot of explo-
ration in what is likely to be expensive requirements to develop
those reserves," the consultant said.
T&T's declining gas reserves
getting international attention
World Bank representative Doyle Gallegos, left, makes a point during yesterday's
ministerial panel discussion on the impact of digital technologies in the Caribbean on
the second day of the conference on Caribbean Technology and Innovation for Digital
Economy at the Hilton Trinidad and Conference Centre y. Also in photo are CTO
Secretary Shola Taylor, centre, and Dr Rupert Griffith, Minister of Science and
Technology. PHOTO: MARCUS GONZALES
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