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Trinidad looking to supply energy to Panama

Published:Wednesday | November 23, 2011 | 12:00 AM

Trinidad and Tobago is seeking to provide assistance to Panama to develop its energy sector, and to do business with that country, Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar announced Monday.

Speaking at a news conference, the prime minister said that a Panama delegation headed by Minister of Energy Juan Manuel Urriola Tam, held talks with Trinidad's Energy Minister Kelvin Ramnarine and Foreign Affairs and Communications Minister Suruj Rambachan.

"The aim of this meeting was to further discussions for economic and technical cooperation between both countries. Panama's demand for energy is now developing and, as such, they are looking to Trinidad and Tobago for expertise and supplies of energy," said Persad-Bissessar.

"Trinidad has over 100 years of experience and, as such, we will make our service companies in both the private and public sectors available," she said.

The prime minister said that the discussions focused on the supply of propane, butane, diesel, gasoline and bitumen to Panama as well as exploring and considering the acquisition of a bunkering licence for state-owned Petrotrin in the free zone which will give access to bunkering ships and the local market. She said that this would also help in securing Petrotrin's market downstream.

T&T well positioned

The discussions also centred on granting of tax concessions for National Petroleum Marketing Company for the establishment of a blending plant in Panama, which would allow Trinidad and Tobago to enter the lubricant and additives market.

"Over the next five years, Panama is looking to improve its road network. As such, there is a huge demand for asphalt and asphalt-based products. Discussions are ongoing between Panama and Lake Asphalt Company of Trinidad and Tobago to provide the asphalt as well as technical-consultancy services to them with regard to road building," Persad-Bissessar.

"Panama is transitioning towards natural gas for power generation through the establishment of a regasification plant to receive natural gas. As Trinidad and Tobago is the only country in the Americas to export natural gas, we are well positioned to be first movers in this market," she added.

The two countries are to sign a memorandum of understanding.

"A task force will be set up to take these actions forward immediately," the PM said.