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Why Trinidad LNG deal might be abandoned

Published:Friday | November 30, 2012 | 4:28 PM

There are indications that Trinidad will not be able to honour its agreement to supply Jamaica with Liquified Natural Gas (LNG), despite its recent discovery of one trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

On Tuesday the Opposition Spokesman on Energy, Gregory Mair pressed the government for a status update on the country’s Memorandum of Understanding with the twin-island republic, citing Trinidad’s recent find.

However, in this week’s Business Express, one of Trinidad’s energy experts said the country’s recent discovery is not cause for celebration.

According to the article which quotes Trinidad’s energy economist Gregory McGuire, the recent find adds to the country's reserves but does not create a gas windfall.

A windfall is additional revenue earnings that were not expected.

McGuire explained that because Trinidad consumes about 1.2 trillion cubic feet a year, the recent gas find of 1 trillion cubic feet, is just about one year’s additional gas.

He said this simply means the country can continue its industry for at least one more year.

A former Minister of Energy, Conrad Enill agreed with that assessment.

He said Trinidad and Tobago’s reserves have been depleting for some time now and the find is an indication that the country is back in exploration mode.

The article said that earlier this year Trinidad and Tobago’s central bank also released statistics which showed a 7.3 per cent contraction in the energy sector in the second quarter.

Natural gas is one of the main alternative sources of energy being pursued by Jamaica as it seeks to cut the oil bill and the cost of energy.

In November 2004, Jamaica and Trinidad signed a MOU for the supply of 1.1 million tonnes of LNG per annum over a 20-year period.

The gas would be used by bauxite-alumina companies and the Jamaica Public Service Company.

However, that deal never materialised.

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