Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 4th 2017 Contents MAY 4 • 2017 guardian.co.tt BUSINESS GUARDIAN
NEWS | BG7
NGC to buy Petrotrin
stake in Block 1ab
State-owned National Gas Com-
pany Ltd is to purchase Petro-
trin's 30 per cent interest in Block
1ab for an undisclosed sum of
This has been confirmed by
NGC's chairman, Gerry Brooks, who told the
Business Guardian in an interview that the
process is at a very advanced stage.
"There are some approvals to be had but cer-
tainly that is at a very, very advanced stage. We
have assumed the role of the purchaser in that
process," said Brooks.
Block 1ab is 70 per cent owned by DeNo-
vo Energy, of which the German-registered
company Proman is the owner. Proman is also
the major shareholder in IPSL and owns 100
per cent of Methanol Holdings Trinidad Ltd.
If Petrotrin sells its 30 per cent stake in Block
1ab to NGC, it would mean that NGC would be
a partner with Proman, which is the majority
shareholder in MHTL.
MHTL and the NGC have been at logger-
heads for months over the supply of natural by
NGC to the methanol company, which owns
five methanol plants on the Point Lisas Indus-
trial Estate. MHTL closed two of its methanol
plants in March and the two companies are yet
to reached an agreement for a new gas sales
Asked how NGC's shareholding in a block
majority owned by Proman was likely to work,
bearing in mind the strained relationship,
Brooks was cautious, "We have a very profes-
sional relationship with all of the companies on
the estate. We will work in the interest of the
asset because, at the end of the day, the inter-
ests of the shareholders come first. They will
have the full benefit of our pipeline technology
capability. They will have the full benefit of our
engineering capability. They will have the full
benefit of our experience. We have continued
to have a very good, professional, constructive
Only recently Minister in the Officer of the
Prime Minister, Stewart Young, confirmed that
the Rowley administration had refused a re-
quest to have a pipeline built to land gas from
Block 1ab in the Gulf of Paria to MHTL plants
in Point Lisas.
The plan was for DeNovo to supply MHTL
with 80 million standard cubic feet of nat-
ural gas from Block 1ab from first quarter of
next year. However, Denevo and MHTL were
informed that under the production sharing
contract for Block 1ab, approval had to be
obtained from the Ministry of Energy and
Energy Industries for any marketing plan for
the natural gas.
Further, Proman was informed that the 80
mmscf/d that it expects to produce from its
Iguana, Zandolie and Anole fields, and a fourth
prospect named Whiptail includes the min-
ister's share of gas which the minister wants
to go into the national grid for distribution by
The Business Guardian has further learnt
that the Government has suggested, rather
than building a dedicated pipeline from the
field in the Gulf of Paria to MHTL plant, that
the company use the NGC's existing infra-
Brooks' response: "We are in the process of
working through several things in the agree-
ment and I will not want to speak out of turn
Minister Young at a news briefing last month
said the Government has taken a policy de-
cision that NGC should be the aggregator of
natural gas in T&T, meaning NGC would buy
the gas output of upstream producers and then
sell that gas to the downstream users on the
Point Lisas Industrial Estate.
Young disclosed that the decision on NGC's
status between the producers and users of nat-
ural gas was taken even before Cabinet offi-
cially approved the natural gas master plan.
"We have taken a decision that NGC should
remain as an aggregator because our position
is that, ultimately, all of this gas belongs to the
citizens of T&T and not to any single entity
or group," Young said, making the point that
the Government was trying to maximise the
returns to the country by the adoption of the
Asked if it made financial sense for NGC to
maintain its role as aggregator in the context of
the gas producers demanding higher prices and
the gas users demanding lower prices, Young
said: "Yes. This government's position is yes.
As you would appreciate there are margins,
so obviously you have the formula of margins
that can be used.
"But if we open up the market and allow up-
stream producers to sell directly to downstream
users, you would literally have killed NGC.
"The upstream producers are trying to make
arguments that the government would con-
tinue to get revenue based on the taxation at
the wellhead and from the downstream users
by the sale of commodities.
"We have taken a policy decision that we
are not going to open up the market to just
allow new players in upstream to sell directly
"There are many different formulations
you can have in between, so we are thinking
outside of the box. There are margins that can
be reduced and there are other areas we are
looking at that, if our conversations continue,
will revolutionise the way that upstream ends
up in downstream with NGC continuing as
MHTL has complained that even after ex-
haustive negotiations with the NGC to supply
sufficient gas to operate its plants and explor-
ing possible alternative supply options, it had
no choice but to shut down the two plants.
According to MHTL, the gas required to run
the two plants at full rates is 108,000 mmb-
tu/d. The company has since offered voluntary
separation packages to 100 workers.
Methanol Holdings (Trinidad) Limited .
Petrotrin's Pointe-a-Pierre refinery.
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