Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 18th 2014 Contents A17
• Twitter: @GuardianTT • Web: guardian.co.tt
In T&T, use of the off-the-grid virtual
currency known internationally as Bitcoin
requires approval from the Central Bank,
the regulator said in its Payments
Quarterly Bulletin December 2013
The bank said: "In T&T, the concept of
virtual currency is somewhat addressed
under the framework established for
electronic money by the Financial
Institutions Act of 2008.
"The Act treats with the issuance of
virtual currency as stored value, issued on
receipt of funds and accepted as
payment by persons other than the
issuer. This activity is defined within the
context of 'business of a financial nature'
and requires the approval of the Central
There have been several claims in
regional publications that the introduction
of virtual currencies may be imminent in
The Central Bank warned: "Potential
users of this product must be aware of
the risks involved in investing in virtual
currencies as regulators seek to establish
appropriate frameworks to ensure the
continued safe operation of the
payments system and the smooth
conduct of monetary policy."
The Consumer Affairs Division recovers
approximately $2 million in refunds and credit
notes for citizens who seek advice and help,
Dexter Morgan, director of Consumer Guidance,
Consumer Affairs Division, Ministry of Trade
told the T&T Guardian yesterday.
"On a yearly basis we can get almost 1,000
registered complaints. We have almost 4,000
calls a year to our division and we also have a
75 per cent to 80 per cent resolution rate," he
The Division, rebranded and now under the
purview of the Ministry of Trade, is currently
on a campaign to raise public awareness of its
Morgan explained that its main task is to pro-
tect consumers and their rights: "If you buy an
item and it has a manufacturer s defect and you
go back to the store and the supplier refuses to
assist you, the consumer can come to us and
we would undertake to investigate on their behalf.
"We also have consumer laws in place that
are designed to protect the consumer, like the
Consumer Protection and Safety Act and the
Trade Description Act, which is public legisla-
Up to last year, Division was under the Ministry
of Legal Affairs and now there is a drive to raise
its public profile.
"The Trade Minister said if you do a test
around the Savannah and ask ten persons if they
are aware of the Division you would only get
one or two saying they know about it. Based on
this, the minister said there should be rebranding.
We have been to the malls throughout the country
and we set up booths and interfaced with con-
sumers," Morgan said.
He said the aim is to develop closer ties, not
only with consumers but the business commu-
"It is how they deal with consumer complaints,
the quality of goods they sell to consumers and
consumer warranty. We need to have a two-fold
approach. Yes we are working on behalf of con-
sumers but at the same time we have to be aware
of the business owners too," he explained.
"The Consumers Protection Act deals with
goods but there is no legislation to deal with
services, so we have draft legislation where we
are looking at consumer guarantees for services.
We already do this but now we need the leg-
islation to back it up," Morgan said.
He said the division is now on Facebook in
their drive to develop a social media presence
to keep informing customers of their rights.
"Apart from walking off the street or calling,
people can also e-mail us," Morgan added.
Although it has almost doubled its after
tax losses, Range Resources Ltd of Australia
has been awarded "significant new acreage
in Trinidad," the company s half yearly
report, released yesterday (March 17),
showed. The company posted an after tax
loss of US$18.1 million for the period ended
December 31, 2013, almost double the
US$9.6 million loss it posted in 2012.
Rory Scott Russell, chief executive officer
(CEO) of Range, said in the report: "I joined
Range at the beginning of February 2014,
and during this initial period as CEO, the
company has already gone through consid-
erable change, not least with key board and
management hires, but also with the award
of significant new acreage in Trinidad fol-
lowing our successful bid for the St Mary s
"We now have the core team in place and
our efforts are firmly focused on developing
and managing our assets, to grow the com-
pany and deliver maximum shareholder value.
There is clearly more to do, including the
rationalisation of our portfolio but Range
remains a fundamentally strong business
with a unique position in Trinidad, and I am
confident that we will be able to take full
advantage of upcoming opportunities."
Range started off in 2011 with 16,500 acres.
In mid-2011 Range acquired a 100 per cent
interest in three production licences in pro-
ducing onshore oilfields in Trinidad and a
local fully operational drilling company which
has six drilling rigs plus further
completion/workover rigs and operational
The three production licenses were for
Morne Diablo (9,300 acres), South Quarry
(3,700 acres) and Beach Marcelle (3,500 acres).
In March 2013, Range announced that
Petrotrin had increased its Morne Diablo
acreage by 3,000 acres.
Asked why, Petrotrin at the time had said:
"Adjacent adjoining idle eastern acreage to
the Morne Diablo Block, part of Petrotrin s
core licence area, where Petrotrin has no
plans for exploration and development activity
(high risk and low prospectivity within
Petrotrin s portfolio), was approved for annex-
ation to the Morne Diablo Block in consid-
eration for a synergistic work programme in
the adjacent contiguous acreage, subject to
further approval by the then Ministry of
Energy and Energy Industries."
In the onshore bid round results announced
by Energy and Energy Affairs Minister Kevin
Ramnarine on February 3 during the T&T
energy conference, the country also learnt
that Range won the St Mary s (Moruga) block.
The energy ministry s Web site said the
Moruga block is 37,760 acres.
In its statement yesterday, the company
said: "Range announced that it has been suc-
cessful with its bid for the St Mary s block
in Trinidad following the submission in the
Trinidad Onshore Bid Round 2013. The addi-
tion of 44,731 acres further consolidates the
company s position and commitment to
exploring and developing onshore oil in
In the paragraph before in the same state-
ment, Range said: "The farm-in agreement
with Niko Resources Ltd, regarding the
Guayaguayare block in Trinidad formally
approved by Trinidadian authorities, adding
280,000 acres to Range s net Trinidad acreage
Apart from CEO Russell, Range used the
half yearly to update investors on the appoint-
ment of two new non-executive directors,
Graham Lyon and Dr Christian Bukovics.
"Together these appointments bring a
wealth of technical, operational and financial
experience onto the Board, to fully support
the company s future growth and develop-
ment," the report said.
Additionally, the company announced two
senior management appointments, Dr Dou-
glas Field and William Duncan, as vice pres-
ident of production and vice president of
"The core team is now in place to run the
company and its portfolio of assets, with the
clear objective of delivering value to share-
holders," the company said.
Range also announced the continuation
of the planned rig maintenance programme.
The company said it received Certificate
of Environmental Clearance approvals for
the drilling of a total of 40 wells, eight well
deepenings and commencement of the
enhanced recovery waterflood programme
on the company s Beach Marcelle license in
Water flooding is a method of secondary
oil recovery in which water is injected into
the reservoir formation to displace residual
oil. The water from injection wells physically
sweeps the displaced oil to adjacent produc-
Range also used its half yearly report to
announce that "the previously proposed
merger with International Petroleum Ltd will
not be proceeding, with constructive nego-
tiations continuing with regards to Range s
US$8 million loan to International Petroleum."
Range had announced it would loan fellow
Australian oil company, International Petro-
leum, US$8 million within the framework of
the then planned merger.
Bitcoin requires Central Bank approval
Range's T&T acreage grows Consumer
Links Archive March 17th 2014 March 19th 2014 Navigation Previous Page Next Page