Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 11th 2016 Contents The Government is being
urged to stay out of the tar-
sand mining business even
as it grapples with how to
increase crude production.
The warning comes from the former pres-
ident of the Geological Society of T&T
(GSTT) and the former head of resource
management at the Ministry of Energy,
Helena Inniss, who advised against any min-
ing of tar sands in this country, describing
such a move as a potential environmental
disaster for T&T.
Tar sands (also referred to as oil sands)
are a combination of clay, sand, water, and
bitumen, a heavy black viscous oil. Tar sands
can be mined and processed to extract the
oil-rich bitumen, which is then refined into
oil. The bitumen in tar sands cannot be
pumped from the ground in its natural state;
instead tar sand deposits are mined, usually
using strip mining or open pit techniques,
or the oil is extracted by underground heating
with additional upgrading.
Inniss acknowledged there are several
proponents of tar-sand mining and the State
is considering granting a license to mine tar
sands in south Trinidad.
"Should this be true, there is a national
disaster in the making on a larger scale than
at Valencia where quarrying has created
several moonscapes in the area. We are also
contemplating a project of this nature when
the price of oil is driving shale oil and tar
sand producers out of the business and
Saudi Arabia is intent on keeping them out
(it seems successfully)."
Innis said she is concerned that such a
project could cause unmitigated environ-
mental disaster as is the case in the Canadian
tar sands project.
"In the case of T&T there is, as yet, no
effective legislation to govern the quarrying
sector. The industry is still governed by the
Minerals Act Chapter 61:03 which lacks
modern and effective regulations, to give
effect to the provisions in the act.
"This has resulted in ineffective manage-
ment and poor regulation of current mining
and mining-related activities, and the min-
erals sector in general, with the resultant
deleterious effects on the environment and
on host communities. Is it going to be any
different with tar sands?"
Innis explained that tar sands require
huge economies of scale. A plant producing
100,000 barrels per day of bitumen will
need to process 200,000 tonnes per day of
To be commercially viable, a plant should
produce at least 50,000 barrels/day. Inniss
said the scale of operation is inconceivable
in a small country like T&T.
"To add to the scale of operation, at each
stage of the processing of the sands there
is tailing waste. These require tailing ponds
and the jury is still out on the scale of envi-
ronmental disaster that is a tailing pond."
She said it has been on the back burner
for a while and should probably stay just
there as there are many other options avail-
able to the country which would likely come
on stream at about the same time it would
take an oil sands project of any magnitude
to get off the ground.
Only recently the Government gave a
grant to the University of the West Indies
and the University of T&T to conduct a
techno-economic analysis of heavy oil in
T&T and a techno-economic analysis of
carbon management through enhanced oil
recovery (EOR) and geological storage.
This country is thought to have significant
reserves of both heavy oil and of tar sands---
which have not been developed---but require,
among other things, high crude prices to
be economically viable.
FEBRUARY 11 • 2016 www.guardian.co.tt BUSINESS GUARDIAN
ENERGY | BG9
Halliburton Co was given more time by the Euro-
pean Union to come up with a package of asset sales
that will assuage competition concerns over its
takeover of oilfield services rival Baker Hughes Inc.
The company said Wednesday that it would offer
the remedies soon, after the EU pushed back the
deadline for reviewing the deal by 20 working days
to June 23.
"Halliburton believes the extension will facilitate
the commission s review of a remedies package, which
will be formally offered by the company in the near
future in order to address the commission s concerns,"
Emily Mir, a spokeswoman for the Houston-based
company, said in an e-mail.
The EU merger authority opened an in-depth probe
into the deal on January 12, citing concerns that com-
bining the second- and third-largest suppliers to oil
exploration companies may impede competition and
Halliburton last month expanded a list of assets
to sell to try to convince antitrust authorities across
the world that the deal won t harm competition. The
oilfield services company said it presented its new
plan to the US Justice Department in January. It
didn t disclose what new assets it s planning to divest.
The cash and stock deal was valued at US$34.6
billion when it was announced near the end of 2014,
just as oil prices had begun their downward spiral.
Halliburton would have to pay Baker Hughes a breakup
fee of US$3.5 billion if the bid is dropped.
A spokeswoman for Houston-based Baker Hughes
declined to comment. Reuters
bad for T&T
Hughes deal review
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