Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 13th 2013 Contents BG10 | NEWS
BUSINESS GUARDIAN www.guardian.co.tt JUNE 2013 • WEEK TWO
T&T should take steps to use its oil
and gas resources to improve the
country before they deplete, said
Arthur Snell, United Kingdom
High Commissioner to T&T.
He said the profile of T&T's economy shows
a significant degree of its gross domestic product
stemmed from the hydrocarbon sector and export-
ing it may mean it would be subjected to fluc-
tuations in global market pricing.
"I think T&T, in many ways, has one of the
more vibrant economies. What is important going
forward is the actual energy that this country
produces will get more expensive, will get slightly
harder to produce, that's a function of the geology.
It may be valuable for this country to do as much
as it can with that energy in terms of expanding
its presence in the value chain rather than export-
ing it as a raw material, but much depends on
the global prices at any given time for oil and
He was speaking at the Small and Medium
Enterprises Workshop on Monday, which was held
at the T&T Chamber of Industry and Commerce,
Columbus Circle, Westmoorings.
Asked how can UK investors assist T&T to build
its diversification thrust, Snell said investors would
be attracted to this country as long as the economy
remained vibrant and diversed. He said the UK
is "very well represented in the energy sector. We
are also represented in other sectors, whether it
is construction or automotive and so on."
"The UK represents 14 per cent of the European
Union's overall budget. When we look at these
big numbers in terms of EU support, some of that
would have ultimately originated from the UK.
We have one or two other projects running, Com-
pete Caribbean, and we also funded the Caribbean
Competitiveness Centre, which is at UWI. Those
are two entities which exist to try to improve
competitiveness in this region and I think it is
specifically with the SMEs are where you can see
a lot of opportunity growing there."
Debate continues on what sectors should be
used as a platform for diversifying the economy.
Snell said there is need for service in the tourism
sector to be improved in order for the Caribbean
to stay competitive.
"I think it is widely recognised that quality of
service standards in this region don't necessarily
match those in some other competitor regions.
I think something governments can make an
impact on is security. There are sometimes high
profile crimes committed against tourists. I am
not saying that tourists should be treated differ-
ently to other victims of crime, but the impact
economically might be much higher if a tourist
is robbed than a natural citizen is robbed."
He contended that laws alone would not help
the issues surrounding crime, but improving the
standard of living of the people.
"I don't think that regulation is always the way
to tackle these issues. I think some of the things
might be to look at the perverse economic incen-
tives. If you have island where a lot of people can
get employment in the public sector, they may not
choose to work in the private sector in the tourism
sector. It may not be a question of creating stan-
dards which are often hard to enforce, but it's actu-
ally, do you create perverse economic incentives
that push people out of tourism and into other
Regarding the UK's airline passenger duty, Snell
said the tax did not contribute to decreased levels
of visitor arrivals, but rather uncompetitiveness of
the tourism product contributed to decreased
arrivals to the UK.
"I recognise that this tax is unpopular. We, the
British government, have not seen any research
that looks at what choices people are making when
they are taking their holidays."
"I am not convinced that APD is the reason for
this region receiving less travellers compared, for
example, Ireland, you look at the relative cost of
hotels and some of the service. Like any business,
there are factors that you can control and factors
you can't control. It would seem to me that it
would be helpful if governments in this region help
their tourism product be competitive globally."
Snell said tourism involves people coming to
this region, which means that promotion of the
destination should be top priority.
"Promoting the product, that is something which
I think that the Caribbean has slipped behind some
of its competitors, I am thinking of South East
Rig activity is up in the southwest
peninsula as workers are striking for
better wages. At the same time fish-
ermen are hammering for compensa-
tion. All this in Petrotrin's newly
renewed Trinmar licensed acreage.
As part of its January 2013 licensed
commitment, Petrotrin is investing
approximately $7 billion in the Trinmar
and North Marine acreages between
2013 and 2017.
This figure is part of a total invest-
ment estimate of $12 billion for
Petrotrin's upstream operations for
the equivalent period, inclusive of its
land and joint venture operations.
Commonly referred to as the Trinmar
Acreage, the TNA Licence Area com-
prises 75,737 hectares, located off the
southwest peninsula of Trinidad.
Fishermen hoping to catch fish in
Cedros staged a water-based protest
on June 8 demanding compensation
for inconvenience in the maritime
space where Petrotrin is now drilling,
and where they happen to also have
been making a living for years prior.
A little known strike also took place
on the Los Gallos 1 well, an important
well among those to meet the Gov-
ernment's production targets. It is
believed to contain upward of 20 mil-
lion barrels of oil, and could contain
as much as 80 million barrels.
"Petrotrin wishes to advise that work
interruption on the Well Services Rig
110, currently on site at Petrotrin's Los
Gallos 1 exploration well location in
our Trinmar licensed area is a matter
between our Rig Contractor Well Serv-
ices Ltd (WSL) and the Oilfields Work-
ers' Trade Union (OWTU), the repre-
sentative union for WSL's employees,"
Petrotrin's corporate communications
department said in a statement on
Joy Antoine, spokesperson for
Petrotrin, said Petrotrin had put out
an internal communique on the status
of negotiations between the OWTU
and Petrotrin, and she was confident
Petrotrin workers would not be
engaged in any illegal action.
"It's between Well Services, a private
contractor, and the OWTU. Although
it would impact us, it is not our
employees. That reinforces the point
that it is not Petrotrin employees," she
said by telephone when first contacted
on June 7. "We were not aware."
Energy and Energy Affairs Minister
Kevin Ramnarine told the Senate on
June 4 that Petrotrin has "almost
409,000 acres under its direct control
in both its land and marine assets. In
its land and Trinmar operations, for
fiscal 2012, a total of 2,216 wells were
on production of which 1,886 wells
are on land and 330 are in the marine
"It is involved in 24 joint ventures
and it is one of this country's largest
employers with 4,300 permanent
employees and 1,200 temporary work-
ers on its payroll. The company also
supports a pensioner base inclusive of
spouses and beneficiaries of 5,400
"For the financial year 2011/2012,
the company's gross revenue was $37.6
billion. In fiscal 2012 Petrotrin con-
tributed $5.1 billion in terms of gov-
ernment revenue by way of taxes and
production to increase
Petrotrin also operates the only
refinery in T&T, and that refinery has
a throughput capacity of 168,000 bar-
rels of oil per day (bopd), he said. The
diet of that refinery is supplied 40 per
cent from local crude oil, and 60 per
cent from imported crude oil. "How-
ever, given the current national thrust
in exploration and production activity
aimed at increasing local crude oil pro-
duction, local crude supply to the
Petrotrin refineries is expected to
Ramnarine said in 2011, 13 wells
were drilled in Trinmar (acreage); 16
wells in 2012; in 2013, 12 and counting;
and that 17 wells are planned for 2014.
Continued on Page 11
abuzz with rig activity,
protest and strike
United Kingdom High Commissioner to T&T
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