Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 19th 2017 Contents JANUARY 19 • 2017 guardian.co.tt BUSINESS GUARDIAN
NEWS | BG5
2017 to be
a year of
Areport released by RBC Caribbean on
Tuesday entitled, "Prepare for Disruption
and Surprises in 2017" says that 2017 is
likely to "favour those promising change,
even if they can't or won't deliver."
The RBC Caribbean Economic Report, which re-
views the economic conditions of 13 Caribbean ter-
ritories, notes that the world has now entered into
a "post-truth" phase with ever-increasing levels of
income and wealth inequality.
It attempts to link the current global political cli-
mate with the failure of "trickle-down economics" by
asking the question: could these unacceptable levels
of inequality be the underlying cause of 2016's po-
The report also asks a series of questions about the
direction technocrats will take in balancing economic
goals with the underlying realities.
Its asks: will policymakers now decisively address
this inequality crisis which feeds instability and
suppresses growth, ultimately affecting everyone,
including the one per cent?
Of the countries under review, all with the excep-
tion of T&T are projected to register growth in real
GDP in 2017 with T&T's GDP projected to decline by
two per cent in 2017. The report also estimates that
the economy of T&T contracted by 6.7 per cent in
2016. The Dominican Republic is projected to lead
the Caribbean region in economic activity in 2017,
with real GDP growth expected to average 4.5 per
cent for the year.
The report notes that countries in the Eastern Car-
ibbean Currency Union (ECCU) continue to suffer
the effects of high unemployment with the figure
standing at 20 per cent. In spite of a small decline in
GDP of one per cent in 2016, Cuba leads the region
by having the lowest unemployment figure at three
In terms of wealth per capita, the Cayman Islands
stands as the region's wealthiest nation with a GDP
per capita of US$54,338 while Guyana stands as the
poorest on a per capita basis with a figure of US$3,596.
Barbados continues to struggle under the weight of
its fiscal debt, having the highest debt to GDP ratio in
the region with debt standing at 156.6 per cent of GDP.
As a result of sluggish economic activity, inflation
in the region remained mostly contained, with most
country's registering inflation under two per cent.
Suriname stands in stark contrast to the rest of the
region with an inflation figure of 77 per cent.
The report shows that for countries that depend
on tourism, the results for 2016 were mostly positive.
According to data pulled from the Caribbean Tourism
Organisation Jamaica, Dominican Republic, Cuba,
Cayman Islands, Barbados and Bahamas all saw in-
creases in stop-over arrivals while Aruba and Curacao
and Sint Maarten registered moderate declines.
Based on the report, the credit rating and outlook
for the region remains mostly "stable" with only T&T
and Barbados having their outlook downgraded to
"negative." ANDRE WORRELL
gets amber light
The president of bpTT,
Norm Christie, has told the
Business Guardian that its
Angelin project will be ap-
proved if the energy giant
agrees with the proposals
put forward by the Government for the bil-
lion-dollar project and for the renegotiation
of the terms of the Atlantic Train I natural
gas supply contract.
Christie's comment to the Business
Guardian follow an announcement by the
Finance Minister Colm Imbert that negoti-
ations between bpTT and the Government
will be concluded by the end of March.
Christie said. "As we have always said if
we reach agreement the project will be a go.
That was the prerequisite and I was delighted
to hear the affirmation from the Minister.
It is really a big step forward to hear the
commitment that we will be done with the
negotiations by the end of the first quarter."
Speaking at a ceremony at Tofco---Trinidad
Offshore Fabricators---in La Brea to mark the
sail away of the topside for the US$2 billion
Juniper project, the Imbert said:
"We will be moving very swiftly in the first
quarter of 2017 to finalise the gas supply con-
tracts because I know this is something of
particular concern to BP because if you don't
have a definite or certain future in terms of
what price you will receive for the price of
the gas produced this can have an effect on
your investment decisions and we do need
to get Angelin on the road."
He added, "So I want to give you the assur-
ance that within the next three months---the
team at the Ministry of Finance and various
international experts we have hired---will
complete the negotiations because we need
to get this show on the road."
Christie has been very critical of the
time it has taken to reach agreement with
the Government, saying the country has a
tendency to dangle one proverbial foot over
Last year in addressing bpTT's Statisti-
cal Review forum, Christie warned that the
Government's efforts to update the nation's
gas master plan "must result in clear poli-
cy decisions regarding matters such as gas
allocation and price and must incentivise
upstream investments in an increasingly
He said failure to bring clarity to these
matters quickly will result in a sharp decline
in investments, which will lead to a repeat
of the circumstances that have materially
contributed to the natural gas supply and
demand imbalance that T&T is currently
experiencing; only it will be worse.
Christie said the prolonged gas supply
shortfalls T&T has experienced in recent
years were due, in part, to pauses in invest-
ment by upstream operators. The shortfalls
have hurt production at the Atlantic LNG
gas liquefaction facility and at petrochem-
"Said another way, no sensible business
person recognising the context we are in is
going to invest approximately US$5 billion
over the next three to four years into natu-
ral gas projects without knowing where the
gas is going to go and under what pricing
mechanism," he added.
The Angelin project will follow the de-
velopment of bpTT's US$2 billion offshore
Juniper gas project, about 50 miles off the
southeast coast of Trinidad.
Christie said bpTT "worked hard and
against significant odds" to develop the Ju-
niper gas field and an onshore compression
project, which will start production in 2017.
Juniper, with a production capacity of
about 590,000 mcf/d will help ease the
shortfalls and increase gas production by
14 per cent Imbert told the ceremony.
Angelin was originally discovered by the
El Diablo well in 1995 and appraised by La
Novia in 2006. The project was accelerat-
ed due to enhanced imaging brought by its
ocean-bottom cable (OBC) seismic.
The company said OBC data has allowed
it to better understand the structures in its
acreage and has improved the definition of
the reservoirs and hydrocarbon contacts
that were previously impacted by shallow
gas effects in the field.
Angelin lies in 65 metres of water and
is planned to be tied back to the Serrette
Imbert noted that with Angelin, the
500mmscf/d from Venezuela's Dragon field
and Juniper, the country was well on its way
to solving its natural gas shortages.
RBC Caribbean Report:
Of the countries under
review, all with the exception
of T&T are projected to
register growth in real GDP
in 2017 with T&T's GDP
projected to decline by two
per cent in 2017.
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