Trinidad tries to restore stability in oil and gas sector

Mar 31, 2004 02:00 AM

The labour unrest that has plagued Trinidad and Tobago's oil and gas industry in recent weeks must be cause of concern for everyone involved: the investors, the workers, the Government, international clients, and most of all, the people of Trinidad and Tobago.
Thanks to numerous ventures such as Atlantic LNG, the oil and gas sector has become the engine that powers the economy of Trinidad and Tobago and, in many regards, is the platform that will be used to propel the country into an era of true development and prosperity by 2020.

Atlantic LNG's Trains I, II, and III have the combined capacity to produce 9.9 mm tpy of LNG for export mostly to the US market. The introduction of Train IV-recently hit by the labour unrest -- in 2006 with a capacity of 5.2 mm tpy -- would bring the combined capacity of all four trains to 15.1 mm tpy. By international standards, that is a major venture of prime importance to the nation's economy.
If industrial relations are allowed to deteriorate in that sector, the country could face serious difficulties in attracting the foreign investors needed to ensure that Trinidad and Tobago remains a major player on the international oil and gas market, and also dash the efforts to place the country firmly on the path of progress.

That is the broad picture that must be taken into consideration when union leaders resort to action such as walkouts or all-out strikes in the oil and gas industry. Just looking beyond our shores at this moment, while our oil and gas industry continues to be plagued by labour unrest, other energy players around the world were positioning themselves to attract potential investors and secure a bigger share of the international market.
Earlier, Qatar inaugurated the world's largest LNG production train. The so-called Train 3 will add some 4.7 mm tpy of LNG to the production of RasGas, Qatar's second major LNG producer, raising the company's output to 11.3 mm tpy.

Meanwhile, just a few miles away from Trinidad, neighbouring Venezuela has been showcasing its natural gas potential in the hope of attracting foreign investment to rapidly develop its LNG sector.
The Venezuelans have pointed to the fact that their country has the world's eighth largest natural gas reserves. Venezuela's proven gas reserves currently stand at an estimated 147 tcf, with probable reserves amounting to approximately 196 tcf.

They hope to attract some $ 50 bn in investment to develop the Venezuelan LNG sector over the next 30 years.
Therefore, against that international reality and in the best interest of the nation, the time has come for Trinidad and Tobago Government authorities to seriously analyse what options are available to restore and ensure labour stability in such a vital sector of the economy and also guarantee an environment of confidence for investors.

Source: Trinidad Express
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