Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 11th 2016 Contents FEBRUARY 11 • 2016 www.guardian.co.tt BUSINESS GUARDIAN
NEWS | BG7
Despite the slump T&T s economy is going
through, German Ambassador Dr Lutz Gor-
gens said companies are always looking for
new investments and T&T remains an area
for large German investments in the region.
"A recession serves as a powerful tool for new ideas. So
sometimes a recession can be a healthy exercise. It is the task
of governments to provide the framework so that businesses
can flourish," he told the Business Guardian last Thursday.
Last month, the T&T-Germany business circle met in Port-
of-Spain which the envoy described as a small, "informal"
group of businesspeople from both countries.
"Recently, Minister Paula Gopee-Scoon was guest of honour
of the Trinbagonian-German Business Circle. Important
German companies were present. Proman is the biggest German
investor in T&T and is now the majority shareholder in MHTL.
Trinidad Generation Unlimited (TGU), now T&T s biggest
energy provider with its very efficient and low-carbon gas
and steam plant in La Brea, was built by Ferrostaal.
"Further upstream, DEA participates in offshore gas explo-
ration. In the field of logistics, Oldendorff has an important
presence here. They have also started to contribute to the
training of T&T s marine pilots with UTT in Chaguaramas,"
Gorgens spoke about the balance of trade between the two
countries and said it is in T&T s favour.
In 2014, Germany imported US$177 million in goods from
T&T and exported US$120 million to T&T.
"Almost half of these T&T exports are oil, and another third
are petrochemical products. Iron and steel amount to 15 per
cent. Little more than one per cent is made up by other sectors
with only 0.1 per cent by food products. You can buy T&T
cocoa in the centre of Berlin, but there is room for expansion
in the food sector."
He said Germany s exports to T&T are very diversified:
"You would expect the automotive sector to lead: yes, but
only with 20 per cent. Other machinery is almost equally
strong about 18 per cent. Add 10 per cent iron and steel and
other metals, eight per cent food products. And almost 30
per cent go to the none of the above ---other sectors with
small percentages each."
"I heard Carib beer is produced with machinery from Ger-
many and I am very proud of that."
The interview took place at the German Embassy in St Clair.
Investment in T&T
Gorgens said German companies have been important in
the petrochemical sector in T&T.
"We should be aware that with our technology and our
financing, Germany has been a very important partner for
the backbone of T&T s industry, the petrochemical sector. In
the past 25 years, German development bank KfW has financed
various projects in T&T, together with a consortium of leading
European banks. The methanol and ammonia sectors stand
out. The overall loan volume amounts to more than US$3
billion. Among the seven big petrochemical projects financed
by KfW for Proman and MHTL is the world s biggest methanol
complex in the world, Methanol M5000 from 2003, and most
recently AUM I (commissioned in Point Lisas in October 2010),"
Gorgens added that in the petrochemical sector, even without
KfW financing, two big Lurgi projects, Titan and Atlas Methanol
have been realised through access to the international financial
market, with German banks like NordLB, WestLB, and Met-
He also spoke about the TGU power plant in La Brea.
"I recently visited TGU, now T&T s most important electricity
generator. The TGU power plant in La Brea was built by Fer-
rostaal. In its steam generators, it produces almost as much
electricity from the heat emitted by the gas generators as from
the gas itself. It is thus almost twice as efficient as older tech-
Gorgens said while some in T&T have the impression that
the country is behind in the use of renewable energy, he said
the conditions are there for T&T to move ahead in this area
and diversify its economy.
"A hundred years ago T&T was not a net exporter of energy,
but look at what has happened in the petrochemical sector.
The same economic progress in the sector of renewable energy
and energy efficiency. There is sun, there is wind in great
abundance. You only have to tap on these resources."
He gave practical steps on how T&T can diversify into the
area of renewables.
"High subventions have kept gas and electricity prices very
low in T&T. According to the UWI seminar two weeks ago
at the Arthur Lok Jack Graduate School, subsidies on petroleum
in the 15 year period 2001-2015 amounted to TT$34 billion.
Fuel prices in T&T have consistently been five to six times
lower than in other Caricom countries like Barbados.
"Incentives to invest in renewable energy capacity have
been very low. Political will, farsighted regulation, and better
access to credit facilities could change this picture. I dare
suggest that digging in and hoping for eventually rising oil
prices is not a sufficient energy and development policy for
any country. The recent push for the introduction of buses
fueled by CNG (clean natural gas) is an interesting step."
He added that Germany is proud to be the lead market for
renewable energy worldwide.
"The share of renewable energies in the aggregate electricity
production in Germany has been 27 per cent in 2014. Its share
in Germany s total energy production has been almost exactly
half as big (13.7 per cent). Germany has some 400,000 jobs
in the area of renewable energy. Some analysts give you even
a much higher number."
He spoke about smart grids being the next big step in terms
of renewable energy and job creation form this.
"Until 2050, we want to halve energy consumption, and
increase the share of renewables to 80 per cent at least. Effi-
ciency is a key factor. Despite considerable economic growth,
Germany now consumes less primary energy than 25 years
ago. The key challenge now is to invest some 35 billion Euros
into smart grids to balance generation and consumption, and
to compensate for the fluctuation of wind and solar power.
"Through constant innovation, our industry drives battery
prices down and efficiency up. Some 10, 000 new solar battery
systems are presently being installed yearly, many of them by
The German Ministers for Foreign Affairs and Economy &
Energy have also invited T&T s Energy Minister Nicole Olivierre
to an international conference on renewable energy in Berlin
from March 17 to 18.
He said companies usually "smell opportunities" and he
believes that German companies would see opportunities in
the area of renewable energy in T&T as this country develops
in that area.
Germany interested in
developing deeper T&T ties
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