Trinidad and Tobago
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PM still upbeat on Dragon gas deal

Clint Chan Tack Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley - Photo by Marvin Hamilton
Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley - Photo by Marvin Hamilton

THE Prime Minister remains upbeat about the potential benefits that Trinidad and Tobago can derive from accessing natural gas from the Dragon Field, located in Venezuela's territorial waters.

Dr Rowley expressed his continued optimism on this matter after the opening of PriceSmart's sustainable solutions plant at the Point Lisas Business Park, Couva on Tuesday.

On January 24, the US Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) granting TT a twoyear waiver to explore the Dragon natural gas field in Venezuela.

The US$1 billion deal was signed between TT and Venezuela in August 2018. Those involved included energy giant Shell, Venezuela’s state oil company PDVSA, and TT’s National Gas Company (NGC).

The Dragon deal would have seen TT developing the field which is estimated to produce approximately 150 million standard cubic feet of gas a day. The gas was supposed to be imported through a billion-dollar pipeline to the Hibiscus platform off the northwest coast of TT. The platform is jointly owned by the TT government, NGC and Shell.

The deal was left in limbo after the US imposed sanctions on Venezuela in 2019.

Asked if the waiver together with initiatives such as the launch of PriceSmart's new plant signalled a major turnaround in the economy, Rowley said, "Well I don't know that it's happened yet."

But he added, "It's all good news and there are good areas for us to explore."

Rowley said, "strengthening our energy involvement and our downstream products and gas supply can only be good for TT."

He suggested the Dragon field not be viewed in isolation.

"It is what it means for the rest of the economy and the entire population. These things are not today for today or today for tonight."

Rowley said, "Even if we do discover a field in our own border, it will take it a little while to bring it to market. The important thing is that we got our hands on it and that's what we should be happy about."