Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 2nd 2017 Contents BG4 | COVER STORY
BUSINESS GUARDIAN guardian.co.tt FEBRUARY 2 • 2017
T&T eyes Guyana
President of the Energy Chamber Dr
Thackwray Driver has urged com-
panies in T&T's energy sector to
capitalise on the Guyanese market.
He said there is a "huge" oppor-
tunity in the oil sector in Guyana
especially with the ExxonMobil find, and therefore
there would be a lot of activity happening in Guy-
ana, and in Suriname, since there is exploration
activity there as well.
Driver spoke to the Business Guardian on day
three of last week's Energy Conference and ex-
plained the rationale behind dedicating a panel
discussion on Guyana and Suriname.
Attending that panel discussion were: Jeff Si-
mons, country manager, Esso Exploration and
Production Guyana; Marny Daal-Vogelland, man-
ager, petroleum contracts, Staatsolie in Suriname
and Nigel Hughes, director, Guyana Oil and Gas
During the panel discussion, Daal-Vogelland
said Staatsolie was looking for partners to devel-
op its Block B and Block C which are part of the
nearshore fields in Suriname. "We are looking for
partners to develop it further with Staatsolie."
Referring to doing business in T&T, she said,
"We have always seen T&T as a hub with respect
to surfaces (drilling) and most of the surface pro-
viders come out of T&T with respect to our own
(Staatsolie) onshore operations. But with respect
to equipment, everything comes out of Houston.
It's cheaper and easier to access all the equipment
you need for your operations."
Staatsolie supplies crude oil to Guyana for its
bauxite industry and for electricity, she said.
Describing Guyana as a "good" neighbour,
Daal-Vogelland said Guyana, Suriname and T&T
are all small countries so the best alternative is for
Staatsolie to work together with those countries
because, "we don't have the critical mass to do
things alone. By partnering we will all be better
off. Trying to do everything yourself is not going
to be very smart."
The key to partnering, she said, is that everyone
must know what their stake is, and what their re-
sponsibilities are so "things would flow better."
Referring to tax regime in Suriname, Daal-Vo-
gelland said, tax regimes are different in every
With the price of oil is hovering around US$55 a
barrel on the global market, Daal-Vogelland said
that is a "good" price for Staatsolie. "Our wells
are very shallow so our costs are not the costs that
you'd probably have in the deeper waters, that's
a big plus."
Driver's comments on Guyana follow the huge
oil find that global energy giant ExxonMobil con-
firmed in Guyana last year.
In mid-2016, ExxonMobil had announced that
it discovered oil at its Liza-2 well with a predicted
800 million and 1.4 billion oil-equivalent barrels
to be obtained.
The ExxonMobil find is so important the En-
ergy Chamber took a delegation to that market
in August 2016.
"There are a lot of business opportunities which
have been developed coming out of that trade
mission and we are doing a conference again with
the Guyana Oil and Gas Association in March,"
Describing the 2017 Energy Conference as a
success, Driver said compared to last year's con-
ference, the number of booths sold at this year's
conference was about the same.
"I think the number of booths went up slightly
and the number of participants went up slightly. It
shows there is confidence in the industry. We are in
this difficult situation but there are opportunities
for investments and for the service industries."
Delegates participating in the conference mainly
came from US, Europe and Canada, Driver said.
He said the participation levels were good, add-
ing that there were important conversations about
the future of the gas industry.
The conversations, he said, really showed that,
"we are in a crisis situation but the industry can
get itself out of that by working together to fix
the problems we (the players in the energy sec-
tor) have."Another significant development
at the conference was the signing
of the Local Content Charter. He
said even though T&T did well
with having local content in-
cluded in projects in the energy
sector, there was need for deepening the presence
of local content in T&T and to further develop
T&T's service industry as well as ensure there is a
competitive supply chain to service the operating
companies in T&T.
Having a Local Content Charter would now see
more collaboration in the local energy sector, he
On the issue of fiscal incentives and the sup-
plemental petroleum tax (SPT), Driver said the
Energy Chamber welcomed the government's
acknowledgment of the need for fiscal reform.
But, at the same time, he questioned how long the
changes in the SPT would take to be implemented.
The changes, which are expected to be intro-
duced with the natural gas master plan, need to
be implemented with "urgency," he said.
With the announcement by bpTT president
Norman Christie that BP is going to make US$1.3
billion in new investments in T&T, Driver said:
"Without those investments, our gas industry is
going to be closing down. We need investments in
order to maintain our gas industry. It's absolutely
crucial for T&T."
...as hub concept mulled over
DR THACKWRAY DRIVER
The conversations really showed
we are in a crisis situation but the
industry can get itself out of that
by working together to fix the
problems we (the players in the
energy sector) have.
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