Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 13th 2016 Contents RAPHAEL JOHN-LALL
Although the United States has resumed
exports of liquified natural gas (LNG), local
energy experts say they expect T&T to
remain competitive in that market.
The US moved one step closer to becoming
a global natural gas exporter on Monday as
the Energy Atlantic LNG carrier began its
final approach to Cheniere Energy's Sabine
Pass export facility. The newly minted export
facility will be the first to send gas produced
from US to consumers across the globe but
other plants are expected to come on stream
including Cameron LNG, Freeport, Coos Bay,
Lake Charles and North Slope, Alaska.
However Energy Minister Kevin Ramnarine
said he expects T&T to hold its own in the
global LNG market.
"T&T has some of the lowest liquefaction
costs in the world. The cost to liquify a tonne
of natural gas in T&T is among the lowest
in the world. We are more competitive than
what occurs in the US or Australia. Our LNG
will continue to be competitive and continue
to find markets," he told T&T Guardian.
Ramnarine said the resumption of LNG
exports from the US had been expected.
"Construction on the Cheniere facilities
in Louisiana had been going on for a couple
years. It was inevitable that the United States
would become an exporter of LNG. That is
a position that is diametrically opposed to
what applied a decade ago.
"Ten years ago we were being told that
the United States was preparing to build
more re-gasification terminals to receive
LNG. Now the US is building liquefaction
facilities to export LNG. It is a feature of the
new world energy order that we are part of,"
Ramnarine also said the global LNG market
seems to be over supplied.
"Same way there is a glut in oil in the
United States, there is also a glut in gas in
the United States. The increase in supply
from the United States will put downward
pressure on prices."
That view is supported by a report from
the International Energy Agency (IEA) which
predicts that LNG markets will be oversup-
plied for some time to come, due to fewer
buyers than sellers, as well as an increasing
share of gas available on a short-term basis.
The IEA said "significant volumes of gas
will be looking for a home, at a time when
lower oil prices are keeping down the price
of oil-indexed gas sold under long-term con-
tracts and when large new LNG plants are
scheduled to start operation."
Ramnarine said competition from the US
will not affect this country since T&T's main
LNG market are in South America while the
US is expected to focus on the Asian mar-
"About half of our LNG is now going to
South America, specifically to Brazil, Argenti-
na and Chile. That is because they are geo-
graphically closer to T&T," he said.
Hugh Howard, a consultant in the field
of oil and gas law, said T&T has many advan-
tages including the fact that the cost of pro-
duction in the US is "manifestly higher".
"One of T&T's advantages is that plants
built in the 1990s were built at a cost that
was so much less than in any other plant
that would have been built in the last five
to seven years," Howard said.
"That gives the LNG in T&T a competitive
advantage and the cost of production is com-
paratively low. If the market for LNG is rel-
atively low, T&T will be ahead of the com-
petitor whose cost of production is twice its
The benchmark for T&T's light
sweet crude oils, West Texas Inter-
mediate (WTI) came within pennies
of a US$30 a barrel price yesterday,
as global prices dropped another
four per cent for a seventh day
One day after slumping 5.3 per
cent, WTI slipped another US$1.29,
or 4.1 per cent, to US$30.12, while
Brent crude, a benchmark for inter-
national oils, fell US$1.18, or 3.7 per
cent, to US$30.70 a barrel in Lon-
Earlier in the day WTI toucjed a
low of US$30.06---a price last seen in
Oil has dropped more than 18 per-
cent this year in what has been the
worst seven-day run since the global
financial crisis. Negative factors
driving the price downward include
China's weakening economy and ail-
ing stock market, the rising US dol-
lar, which makes oil more costly and
the surprising resilience of US shale
drillers in the face of the price slide.
• Twitter: @GuardianTT • Web: guardian.co.tt
Oil drops within pennies of US$30 low
Trade Minister Paula Gopee-Scoon, right, speaks with Dr Ulrich Thiessen, left,
international programme manager, Delegation of the European Union to T&T, at the
launch of the Fit 4 Europe project hosted by ExporTT at Courtyard Marriott in Port-of-
Spain yesterday. With them are project consultant with Scoping International of the
United Kingdom Clive Vokes, second from right, and ExporTT CEO Adrian Theodore.
PHOTO: MARCUS GONZALES.
No threat to T&T
from US gas
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