Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : November 19th 2015 Contents NOVEMBER 19 • 2015 www.guardian.co.tt BUSINESS GUARDIAN
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trillion cubic feet to 5.721 trillion cubic feet.
Probable reserves are estimated on data similar to
proven reserves but technical and commercial uncer-
tainties preclude the probable reserves as being clas-
sified as being proven while possible reserves are
suggested by structural and or stratigraphic exploration
beyond areas classified as probable based on geological
and geophysical interpretation.
When combined the country's 3P or proven, prob-
able and possible reserves are 22.694 tcf as of the
end of last year and this compares to 23.882 at the
end of 2013. This means that the country's 3Ps fell
by 1.28 trillion cubic feet of gas last year.
Compare this to 2002 when proven reserves were
20.758 trillion cubic feet, probable 8.280 and possible
reserves at 6.062 trillion cubic feet for a 3Ps of 35.1
trillion cubic feet of gas or 12 trillion cubic feet more
than the 2014 figure. Looked another way, the decline
in the last 12 years of almost 12 trillion cubic feet of
3P reserves reflects almost the entire annual production
for the time period and highlights that, in the last
12 years, the country has basically used its reserves
and not replaced it with new finds.
The figures also show that when one looks at the
reserve-to-production ratio, T&T---at the current
rate of production--- would run out of gas by 2025
if no new sources are found or there is no movement
of natural gas from the probable and possible category
to proven finds. Seen from the eyes of the 3P position,
this then moves to 19 years or 2034 before the country
runs out of gas using the same calculation.
Experience has shown, however, that with explo-
ration there are invariably more discoveries and Ryder
Scott is recommending that the Government encour-
age companies to explore to have, at least, an annual
replacement of natural gas used.
It is not all bad news, however.
While Ryder Scott found that the 3P reserves con-
tinue to fall, the country's exploration potential jumped
by almost 4tcf. It moved from 39.876 trillion cubic
feet to 43.753 trillion cubic feet. Sources say this is
likely due to the results from bpTT's Ocean Cable
Bottom survey which has reportedly given the com-
pany sharper images of the sub surface and, therefore,
made it very optimistic that it has far more gas in
the Columbus basin than it previously thought.
The 2014 exploration potential is also 14 trillion
cubic feet more than it was in 2002 and perhaps
reflects how technology is showing far more possible
natural gas accumulations than previously thought.
Starting in 2012, T&T's downstream users of natural
gas---including the Atlantic LNG facilities in Point
Fortin and the petrochemical plants on the Point
Lisas Industrial Estate---began experiencing what has
come to be known as natural gas curtailments.
This is due to a mismatch between upstream com-
mitments to supply the National Gas Company NGC
and downstream demand from NGC's customers.
Former Minister of Energy, Kevin Ramnarine, has
maintained consistently that T&T's gas curtailment
issues are not expected to abate before bpTT's Juniper
platform comes on stream in mid-2017.
From Page 4
moved from 39.876
trillion cubic feet to
43.753 trillion cubic feet.
Oil majors don't share OPEC's
optimism on oil prices in 2016
OPEC's meeting in Vienna is less than
a month away, and oil producers---countries
and companies alike---have been raising
their concerns at an energy conference in
the United Arab Emirates over the cartel's
strategy to keep prices low.
The issue arose on Monday when
Mohammed bin Hamad al-Rumhy, the oil
minister of Oman---not a member of
OPEC---told the annual Abu Dhabi Inter-
national Petroleum Exhibition and Con-
ference that oil production is at "irrespon-
sible" levels, leaving little latitude for
variations in production.
"This is a man-made crisis in our indus-
try we have created," al-Rhumy said. "And
I think all we're doing is irresponsible."
Al-Rhumy added, "This is a commodity
that if you have one million barrels a day
extra in the market, you just destroy the
market. We are hurting, we are feeling the
pain, and we're taking it like a God-driven
crisis. Sorry, I don't buy this, I think we've
created it ourselves."
The next day, al-Rhumy's concerns, if
not his criticism, were shared by executives
of leading international oil companies:
ExxonMobil of the United States, BP of
Britain and Total of France. All said they
expect the current glut of oil, and the result-
ant depression in oil prices, to last longer
than anyone expected -- months longer, if
not years longer.
"I'm not sure we will exit from low prices
before many months," Total CEO Patrick
Lamar McKay, the director of exploration
and production for BP, said he expects oil
prices will stay low for some time, and
Michael Townshend, the company's director
for Middle East operations, said he expects
the price of a barrel of oil will rise no higher
than about US$60 for three more years.
These gloomy forecasts contrasted with
the OPEC view. The group's secretary gen-
eral, Abdullah al-Badri, told the conference
on Tuesday that 2016 is likely to be a year
for positive momentum in oil markets. And
on Monday, UAE Oil Minister Suhail al-
Mazrouei, said a decision by OPEC to cut
production to shore up oil prices would
only play into the hands of its competi-
As a result, al-Mazrouei said, he doesn't
expect OPEC to change its strategy when
it meets December 4. "When you are the
least expensive oil, you should be the base
producer," he said.
At its meeting in November 2014, OPEC
adopted Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi's
strategy of keeping production at 30 million
barrels a day, despite the fall in oil prices
caused by a rapid increase in production
by non-members, especially the United
States, which had ramped up production
of shale oil.
Cris Seecheran, CEO of Telecommunica-
tions Authority of T&T (TATT) said a
monopoly in the local telecom market would
not be created as a result of Liberty Global's
acquisition of Cable and Wireless Commu-
nications (CWC). He suggested that the
acquisition would simply mean that CWC
would further improve its service in T&T.
Seecheran's comments come after Mon-
day's announcement that an agreement had
been reached for the acquisition of Cable
and Wireless Communications by Liberty
Global at a price tag of US$8.2 billion. The
talks between the two parties which began
in 2014, finalised early this week and the
official acquisition is to be completed in the
second quarter of 2016 with Liberty Global
expected to absorb CWC's $2.7 billion debt.
The talks between CWC and Liberty Global
started shortly after CWC announced that
it was acquiring Columbus Communications
in November 2014.
Liberty Global is the world's largest inter-
national cable television company with nearly
27 million subscribers. The company attracts
nearly US$18 billion in annual revenues with
operations mainly in Europe.
Mike Fries, Liberty Global's CEO said on
Monday that when the acquisition is com-
pleted the combined business will serve 10
million video, data, voice and mobile sub-
scribers, with leading positions across mul-
Speaking on Tuesday in a telephone inter-
view, Seecheran said: "Normally, removing
one (provider) would essentially be creating
a monopoly, but that situation does not
present itself in this particular case because
Liberty Global is not providing services in
any of the markets in the Caribbean, except
Puerto Rico which is not in our jurisdic-
He confirmed that the authority became
aware of the acquisition recently.
"We became aware of it two or three weeks
ago when we were alerted to that fact by
Cable and Wireless. That's when we became
aware of it. Since that time we have been
The two entities did not officially inform
the authority of the talks.
Seecheran assured that the regulatory
framework is in place to accommodate the
change of control, the change of ownership
and any other changes which would come
with this transaction. At the first glance, he
said, there is no major impact to competition
since it is a change of control/ownership.
"In this specific case just as we did when
there was the CWC acquisition of Columbus,
a similar exercise would need to be under-
taken by the authority in relation to any
potential impact to the telecommunications
landscape in T&T."
Liberty Global is not a player in the T&T
market, Seecheran added: "It is not that
Liberty Global is providing services in com-
petition with who they are seeking to acquire.
At first glance, it is just a change of ownership
at the top, as opposed to any overlapping
of provision of services to the market. It
would have been a more difficult situation
we would have had, like the CWC and
Seecheran confirmed that TATT had writ-
ten to the both companies requesting infor-
mation about the acquisition. He added that
it is fairly early to get responses from the
companies since the requests were submitted
on Tuesday morning. He anticipated that
the authority would receive the information
requested soon and then it would commence
its due diligence.
"It would be simpler from the point of
view that Liberty is not providing services
in the region so we don't have to look at
any potential anti-competitive effects from
reduction of services to the public. That part
is out of the equation it would make our
exercise a lot simpler, this time around."
Reacting to statements made by the Com-
munication Workers' Union that the author-
ity did not handle the acquisition in a proper
manner, Seecheran said he did not necessarily
agree with the union. He said with the CWC
acquisition, TATT had discussions with the
"It suits them to adopt that position. As
a regulator we are guided by our regulatory
rules, procedures and the law. it is clear in
the law what powers we have and how we
go about exercising those powers. It is not
about emotion, it is about the remit that we
have," he said.
Commenting on the development of the
overall telecom market in T&T, he said there
is always room for improvement when it
comes to increasing competition in the local
market for mobile services and fixedline
"We do have a fairly vibrant landscape in
relation to competition. What we had sought
to do is introduce further competition in
the mobile space. Through a tendering
process, we sought a third mobile operator
and that is still with the minister (for
approval). We are hoping that matter could
be completed as it has been outstanding for
some time now."
Asked whether the authority has sufficient
powers, he said: "In the current situation
we do have sufficient powers, on the other
hand we feel that additional powers would
help in other areas. The previous Cabinet
has already approved certain changes to the
Telecommunications Act. But in relation to
what is happening now we do have sufficient
powers in our existing legislation for us to
deal with the acquisition."
Seecheran anticipated that T&T's telecom
market is not going to be stagnant for long.
He added that the trends in the global market
have shown a lot of changes over a short
period of time.
TATT boss on new mega-merger...
No adverse impact
if Liberty buys CWC
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