Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : 27-Jan-2018 Contents RADHICA DE SILVA
The gas supply impasse between
Caribbean Nitrogen Company (CNC)
and the National Gas Company (NGC)
took a downward spiral yesterday
after the Ener y Ministry warned
CNC that it will not be bullied to act
in a detrimental manner to the peo-
ple of T&T.
Accusing CNC of "petulant and
threatening behaviour," the Ministry
said "it noted with a high level of
concern the language being used by
CNC in its public utterances with re-
spect to the breakdown of commer-
cial negotiations (with NGC)."
CNC announced on Wednesday
that its anhydrous ammonia plant at
the Point Lisas Industrial Estate had
to be shut down because NGC failed
to supply gas. This resulted in the ter-
mination of 110 permanent workers
and over 300 workers indirectly con-
nected with CNC's operations.
But the Ministry in a statement yes-
terday said, "It is no secret that there
have been, and are, gas curtailment
issues currently affecting our hydro-
" It is also not a secret that NGC
from 2019 has to pay signi icantly
higher prices for gas. The behaviour
of CNC which has shareholders who
hold signi icant shareholding in other
plants in Point Lisas is instructive and
disappointing," the Ministry said.
Saying there is no entitlement to
gas supply without an agreed and
executed contract, the Ministry said,
"It is the Government's understand-
ing that NGC's gas supply agreement
with CNC expired and the parties
were unable to agree pricing issues
for gas supply from 2018 to 2023."
"The gas supply situation and
in particular, the pricing of gas has
changed signi icantly and the Gov-
ernment has been, and will be, en-
gaging upstream gas suppliers and
downstream gas purchasers to ad-
dress this," the Ministry added.
Whilst NGC and the Government
remain committed to supplying the
downstream hydrocarbon players
with gas, the Ministry said "it will not
be bullied by CNC, its af iliates or an-
yone for that matter, to act in a man-
ner that is detrimental to NGC and
ultimately the citizens of T&T."
"Transfer pricing and avoidance
of tax issues have long been a part of
the behaviour of some in the indus-
try and these are also issues being
looked at by the Government. The
Government encourages CNC to stop
its petulant and threatening behav-
iour and return to the table of negoti-
ations with NGC."
On Thursday, NGC chairman Gerry
Brooks also appealed to CNC's man-
agement to let good sense prevail and
to reconsider its latest offer. Brooks
said since the agreement between
both companies expired in October
2017 the NGC had facilitated four ex-
tensions of the contract with CNC.
But CNC's Chief executive of icer
Jerome Dookie said NGC was contin-
uing to make misleading statements.
"We do not agree with Mr. Brooks'
position and completely reject his
statements that accuse CNC of having
unreasonable expectations, double
digit returns and the potential for bil-
lions of dollars of losses for the NGC,"
Dookie said. He also questioned how
can NGC could invite CNC to return
to the negotiating table yet cut off the
company's gas supply at the same
CNC urged to negotiate with NGC
Saturday, January 27, 2018
Khan hopeful of CNC, NGC settlement
Ener y Minister Franklin Khan is
optimistic that negotiations between
Caribbean Nitrogen Company (CNC)
and National Gas Company (NGC)
will come to an amicable settlement
next week, stating it was not a per-
manent shut down by CNC.
Khan was responding yesterday to
questions in Parliament, three days
after CNC announced plans to shut
down its ammonia plant because of
the non-supply of natural gas from
NGC. The shut down has led to 400
of CNC's workers losing their jobs.
Asked about the losses incurred as
a result of the shut down, Khan tried
to avoid answering the question,
saying that there was a commercial
negotiation between the two compa-
nies which were at a sensitive stage,
as the House erupted into an uproar.
Though he did not have precise
igures, Khan said for a two-day shut
down "the actual igure would be
very small. In any event, NGC is sell-
ing the gas somewhere else."
He said it was not a permanent
shut down of CNC.
"It is not. This has resulted in the
breakdown of a commercial oper-
ation for a gas sale contract. Most
matters of which have already been
settled. The last matter to be settled
is the actual price of gas."
Khan said, "I am of the irm view
that the parties will return to the
table next week....and hopefully
there would be a compromise on
both sides and we would have a set-
tlement of this matter."
Khan said the contract expired
"They were given three exten-
sions. The last extension inished on
24th January," stating that NGC has
been trying its best to bring the mat-
ter to an amicable solution.
"But for heaven sake, let a com-
mercial negotiation remain in the
realm of commercial negotiation...
do not bring it in Parliament," Khan
Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley,
who also responded to questions on
the issue, was asked by Oropouche
West MP Roodal Moonilal what steps
Government had taken to prevent
the continued shut down of CNC.
Rowley said the issue surround-
ing the operations of CNC and NGC
was a commercial arrangement.
"And in so far as the Government
owns NGC that is as far as it goes at
the moment. We trust that negotia-
tions will continue in the appropri-
He said NGC's function was to ne-
gotiate fair contracts and that "we
get a fair bene it for gas extracted
from our ields." Given that 400 jobs
have been put on the line, Moonilal
asked the PM when he found out
about CNC's impending crisis.
"I am not aware that the issue is
one of workers and time of knowl-
edge. This is a commercial contract
to be negotiated and the issue of
workers arise with respect to the
operations of CNC and they are not
directly linked...because whether
there are workers or no workers...
contract or no contract these oper-
ations remain negotiations between
two commercial entities."
Rowley made it clear that the op-
erations between NGC and CNC did
not require Cabinet sanction.
Asked if the ministries of Labour
and Ener y should intervene to
bring a resolution to the matter,
Rowley said he did not see a role for
labour or the wider Government.
However, Rowley said depending
on the issue there would be a role
for the Ener y Ministry, minister,
Government and "possibly Parlia-
Chaguanas West MP Ganga Singh
queried from Rowley if Government
was taking a hands-off approach on
"Certainly not," stating that there
is a minister responsible for NGC.
The fact that we are not jumping
into a contract to interfere with the
negotiations, as we are being en-
couraged to do, does not mean that
we are taking a hands-off position.
We are taking a hands-on through
Asked if Government was sup-
portive of an independent audit of
NGC gas supply, Rowley said the cli-
ent of NGC had demanded that they
open its books to determine if they
were having too much or too little
pro its in its operations.
He said an independent audit of
NGC should be of interest to all to
determine whether "NGC should
be in business at all." Moonilal en-
quired if there was need for political
intervention to save the jobs.
"This matter is not one about sav-
ing 400 jobs. It is one that is much
larger than that."
Keith Rowley is
fitted with a
during his visit
Dolly and Trade
the band's pan
Bill to JSC
Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi yes-
terday referred the Anti-Terrorism
Bill to a Joint Select Committee com-
prising eight members with a report
to be submitted by March 31.
Leader of Government Business
Camille Robinson-Regis announced
that ive members of the House,
among them Al-Rawi, Marlene Mc-
Donald, Prakash Ramadhar and her-
self, while three members from the
Senate will be selected to form the
Al-Rawi's referral came two weeks
after Opposition Leader Kamla Per-
sad-Bissessar invited Prime Minister
Dr Keith Rowley to discuss two crit-
ical pieces of legislation--- the failed
Anti-Gang Bill and the Anti-Terror-
ism. Up to Wednesday no talks had
taken place with both sides.
Yesterday, Al-Rawi, in delivering a
statement in Parliament, stated that
the bill seeks to target terrorist inanc-
ing and activities, set out legislative
mechanisms to meet international
obligations and improve platform for
T&T's contribution to ight against
The bill was irst laid in Parliament
Having established an Anti-Terror-
ism Desk within the Ministry of the
Attorney General and Legal Affairs,
Al-Rawi said the Government in De-
cember 2015 obtained its irst order
of the High Court designating one na-
tional in accordance with the United
Nations Security Council Resolution
(UNSCR) and freezing his assets.
Since then, the AG said they have
obtained orders in respect of a total
of 353 entities and individuals, in-
cluding all 347 designated by the
United Nations 1267 Sanctions Com-
mittee and six individuals with a local
Further, they have gone to sub-
mit requests to three jurisdictions
to designate entities/individuals in
accordance with the UNSCR and the
Financial Action Task Force recom-
"The Of ice of the Attorney Gen-
eral has also successful pursued and
obtained the irst listing of a sus-
pected foreign terrorist ighter and
ISIL spokesman and recruiter being
added to the United Nations list."
He said the bill contains compre-
hensive measures for 14 proposed
changes, among them to submit
names of suspected terrorists to the
United Nations Security Council and
its subsidiary bodies, address speci ic
risks posed to children including re-
cruiting and taking them to conflict
zones and strengthening the law re-
lating to the provision of services for
the inancing of terrorism.
Out of an abundance of caution, Al-
Rawi said the Government inserted a
three- ifths majority in the bill.
"As such the bill has been referred
to a Joint Select Committee of Parlia-
ment for consideration on a tripartite
basis, speci ically with a view towards
facilitating alacrity in the passage of
the improvements of the anti-terror-
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