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No decision on T&T-V’zuela gas plan—minister

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

No decision has been taken on whether the gas from the T&T/Venezuelan joint venture Loran Manatee gas field should be sent to Venezuela or come to T&T, says Energy Minister Kevin Ramnarine. He was speaking during Monday night’s 2014 budget debate in Parliament as he cleared the air on allegations made by PNM MP Colm Imbert. Imbert, producing several Internet stories, in earlier debate had accused Government of remaining silent on the joint venture agreement signed with Venezuela last week on the gas field. 



Imbert said it would benefit Venezuela, since gas would be piped from T&T and sold in Venezuela. Imbert said that was “betrayal” and PNM leader Keith Rowley said it was ‘treason.” But Ramnarine, in contributing to the budget debate, said while Venezuela had expressed the view that gas from its portion of the field should go to Guiria, “T&T has said we feel it makes more economic sense if their gas comes to T&T.”


Ramnarine said there were many stories on the Internet, “stories written on top of stories,” and the truth of the matter was that the agreement so far had not touched on where the gas would go to. “It’s not true all of our gas will be going to Venezuela,” Ramnarine added.


He said when Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar met Venezuelan President Nicholas Maduro recently she urged  him to conclude the Loran Manatee (LM) negotiations, which had been outstanding after the initiative was opened under the tenure of late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. Ramnarine said a Venezuelan team came to T&T in July to negotiate with Energy Ministry officials for “two days and two nights.”


Noting that 73 per cent of the gas is in Venezuela, Ramnarine said what had been agreed to by both sides was a governance structure and various teams to proceed on how they developed the LM field. He said one team was a directing entity, comprising Chevron, PDVSA and BGtt. Another, he added, was an investing committee, comprising the four companies involved in the venture, and the third was an executing entity.


He said the discussions between both sides would crystallise information to be sent to a ministerial team on the issues on which T&T and Venezuela’s energy ministers would sit.


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