Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 29th 2013 Contents A6
Sunday Guardian www.guardian.co.tt September 29, 2013
Energy Minister Kevin Ramnar-
ine yesterday sought to clarify the
continued negative speculation
over the massive Loran/Manatee
field which straddles the border
between Venezuela and Trinidad.
In an e-mail interview, the min-
ister said he signed the 2013 Agreed
Minutes concerning the functional
structure of the Unit Operator of
the Loran/Manatee area, which is
not a completed agreement.
"The process is by no means
completed. There are other agree-
ments that will have to be signed,
however, the most recent signing is
a significant step forward," Ram-
Ramnarine said the country will
in fact benefit from the recent agree-
"The main benefit is that natural
gas that was stranded will be utilised
for the benefit of both countries.
Please note that a development plan
has to be first submitted to the
directing committee. This has nei-
ther been formulated nor has it been
submitted. Positions and views have
been advanced by Venezuela and
positions and views have been
advanced by Trinidad and Tobago.
It is our view and position that the
natural gas within Manatee (the
Trinidad side of Loran/Manatee)
will at the very least come to our
local market to be utilised for the
benefit of Trinidad and Tobago."
"Please remember that a devel-
opment plan is yet to be agreed.
Note, too, that there are four com-
panies involved---the two Chevron
companies, PDVSA and BG T&T.
These companies would also have
input in the formulation of a devel-
Ramnarine did confirm that the
agreement did not state whether gas
The process is not complete...but T&T will benefit
"It is a poor minister, when faced
with challenge by the opposition on
a matter under his purview, seeks
to blame and put the responsibility
on public servants," Rowley said in
an interview with the Sunday
Guardian at his office on Friday.
"Public servants do not make pol-
icy and this is a policy issue," Rowley
Ramnarine s side-step on the
bilateral negotiations comes just days
after he told the country that there
was no agreement, just the estab-
lishment of steering committees. He
was quoted in the media on
Wednesday as saying that "there s
to date no agreement on this matter.
This will be the subject of a devel-
In a response to statements by
Opposition MP Colm Imbert last
week, Ramnarine said "no decision
has been made thus far regarding
where the natural gas in the field
would be monetised, although posi-
tions have for some years been artic-
ulated by both countries."
Rowley, who has since publicly
bashed Ramnarine for messing up
the sensitive bilateral deal, said the
Venezuelan Energy Minister, Rafael
Ramirez, seems to be under a dif-
Rowley held up several interna-
tional press articles in which he said
Venezuela seemed to be moving "full
One Reuters report, dated Sep-
tember 11, states that "under the
agreement, PDVSA will build a gas
pipeline of about 170 miles from the
Loran-Manatee bloc to the Paria
Peninsula on the Venezuelan coast.
That area is the focus of a high pro-
file but long delayed Venezuelan off-
shore natural gas project called
Mariscal Sucre, where reserves are
estimated at 14.7 tcf.
"That sounding like this isn t a
done deal?" Rowley asked.
The Sunday Guardian understands
that two steering committees were
established when former energy
minister Carolyn Seepersad-Bachan
signed the Loran Manatee Memo-
randum of Understanding (MoU)
back in August 2010. But Ramnarine
said that these three committees---
Directing Committee, Investment
Committee and Executing Entity---
were all part of the latest agreement
signed on September 11, 2013.
"These new committees were not
provided for in either the 2003 MoU
or the 2007 Framework Treaty,"
Seepersad-Bachan, however, said
that while she did establish steering
committees back in 2010, the crux
of her MoU was to foster further
discussions to allow more benefits
to the country.
"Yes, I signed that MoU that
included the steering committees,
but we had also agreed to have fur-
ther discussions take place regarding
setting up service companies on the
southern side of the island to facil-
itate follow-on business. I have not
seen the agreement that was recently
signed, but I have not if that was
part of it," she said in a brief tele-
phone interview Friday.
What did we get?
Rowley again called on Ramnarine
to say just what Trinidad and Tobago
stood to gain from the agreement.
"There has been no talk so far on
how this is benefiting this country.
All the public knows so far is that
Venezuela moving full steam ahead,"
Bilateral talks on the cross-border
finds began under the PNM with
former prime minister Patrick Man-
ning and late Venezuelan president
Hugo Chavez headlining the histor-
"I was there. After ten years of
trying to ensure this deal benefited
this country, this Energy Minister
comes and gives it all away?" Rowley
"All the risk we took come to
Rowley said if they were willing
to accept what Ramnarine accepted,
that agreement could have been
signed years ago.
"We could have done that long
time, but we have been pinning our
hopes on the liquification aspect of
the deal. What about our reserves?
How are we to attract more energy
business when we have dwindling
reserves and then this minister giving
away what we could have had in the
The Sunday Guardian obtained a
copy of the document headlined
Agreed minutes concerning the
functional structure and governance
of the unit operator for the
Loran/Manatee unit area. In that
document, Ramnarine and his
Venezuelan counterpart Rafael
Ramirez Carreno agreed on three
committees: directing, investment
and executing. It is the directing
committee which enables voting
rights over the find.
Trinidad..................16.97 per cent
Venezuela..............4.61 per cent
PDVSA Gas.............35.65 per cent
Chevron Global.......22.79 per cent
Chevron Trinidad.....4.98 per cent
BGTT.......................4.98 per cent
One energy expert, affiliated with
the ten-year-old Loran/Manatee
bilateral talks, said if Trinidad added
its share with Chevron Trinidad and
BGTT, it would be back to the almost
27 per cent of the voting rights asso-
ciated with the percentage of the
find that belongs on the Trinidad
side of the shared border.
"However, do you really think the
local Chevron will vote against its
parent, Chevron Global? Would BG
vote with Trinidad should it come
to that?" the energy expert asked.
The energy expert also recalled
that back in May, Chevron invested
$2 billion in PDVSA s energy output
venture in a bid to boost its pro-
This, they say, is indicative of the
close ties between Chevron and
Venezuela, which again leaves
Trinidad and Tobago out in the cold.
After Seepersad-Bachan signed
the 2010 MoU, there was an attempt
to continue negotiations for one of
the local energy companies, Petrotrin
or the National Gas Company
(NGC), to also hold voting rights in
the agreement. That, the energy
expert said, was not a part of this
"She and Ramirez also agreed to
hold further talks about letting the
gas pass through Trinidad, but that,
too, did not materialise in this agree-
ment," the energy expert said.
Of the three cross-border fields,
the Loran Manatee holds the largest
reserve---10.3 trillion cubic feet (tcf).
That is broken up into three pock-
ets---Dolphin, Dolphin Deep and
The second largest bloc: Cocuina
Manakin has 0.74 tcf of reserves (of
which Venezuela was allocated 64
per cent) and the Dorado-Kapot
field which contains 0.31 tcf, with
Trinidad and Tobago holding 84 per
"Even added together, those two
fields is just 1 tcf, that is not helping
our reserves," Rowley said.
But the situation may be more
dire than that, an energy expert,
who requested anonymity, said. The
expert said that one of those fields
has already been exploited by Amoco
and the money placed in escrow for
"One of those small fields is
already empty, there is just one other
now," the expert said.
Chevron s factsheet on Trinidad
states that the East Coast Marine
Area (ECMA) where the all three
fields are located "plays an important
role in Chevron s global exploration
and production programme."
According to that fact sheet,
Chevron Trinidad and Tobago
Resources SRL, has a 50 per cent
non-operated working interest in
the three blocs in the ECMA and
50 per cent operating interest in the
Manatee area of Block 6(d).
Ramnarine's trump card:
According to section 2.4.2 under
the heading "voting rights," a "two-
thirds majority vote shall be required
for final decisions of the directing
committee, subject to a right of veto
exercisable by the governments of
Trinidad and Tobago or the Boli-
varian Republic of Venezuela if it
considers that its sovereign interest
may be affected."
"Is he or Venezuela going to use
that veto when things are already
on-stream? When you going to use
veto power? When you already put
us off the table?" Rowley asked.
gives it all away---Rowley
Continues from Page A1
Continues on Page A7
Links Archive September 28th 2013 September 30th 2013 Navigation Previous Page Next Page