Monthly Archives: April 2015

Hugo Chavez played Trinidad and Tobago on Loran-Manatee gas field

Details of this issue are presented in my book: “The Geo-politics of LNG in Trinidad and Tobago and Venezuela in the 21st century” The following questions are extremely relevant on this issue: Why did Chavez in the post-2002 attempted coup politics of Venezuela choose to pit up for bidding offshore blocks where there is no hinterland with the development to facilitate effective monetisation of these gas fields? Whilst blocks as Perla offshore Falcon state on the Caribbean coast were by-passed blocks with a near pristine hinterland were open to bidding. Perla subsequently developed has at minimum 15 tcf of gas with the hinterland to enable effective monetisation. By opening these blocks Chavez therefore enticed successive governments of T&T to salivate over the thought of Venezuealan gas being processed into LNG in T&T. And by salivating successive governments had to dance with Venezuela thereby walking the tightrope with the US. How has the US shale gas revolution impacted plans to raise LNG trains in Venezuela? Chavez indicated that given the US gas revolution LNG plants for export to the US were no longer feasible therefore the strategy calls for domestic use of Venezuelan gas resources and surplus gas then considered for LNG plants. This policy stated in “Sowing the oil” was applied to the Perla field where the first production platform was recently installed. Likewise the Dragon fields etc offshore Sucre state have had their production fed into the national gas network. Remember Venezuela with its huge gas resources has been forced to import natural gas from Colombia. Why spend billions of USD to develop the gas of Loran to send it to the terminal at Sucre state? Is Chevron set on erecting a LNG train with Loran gas? Is LNG based on Loran gas profitable in an environment of US shale gas LNG exports? Successive T&T governments are then hoping that Venezuela surrender and send Loran gas to T&T for processing to LNG. That is a wish deeply impacted by Venezuela’s internal politics leaving T&T politicians to belly gripe and complain with bouts of hand wringing. Chavez played them all to neutralise a threat on Venezuela’s Atlantic margins then came PetroCaribe as the instrument to increase Venezuelan influence in Caricom. 24 September 2015 On September 23, 2015 a story on the Spanish website of PDVSA stated that the supply of gas from the Perla field, Venezuela to Atlantic LNG for processing into LNG can happen nothing was said of Venezuelan gas from Loran-Manatee field making the same journey. Repsol and Eni have signed a contract selling all the gas produced to 2036 from the Perla field to PDVSA for use in the domestic market. The undertaking is whenever Venezuela’s domestic gas shortfall is addressed then Repsol and Eni can commence the production of LNG for export. Today, now, that stifling gas shortfall exists and the timeframe for ending this shortfall is pressured by the shortfall in electricity generated by hydro-electricity heightens given diminished rainfall over time. There is then need to rapidly erect gas fired electricity generating stations as a matter of urgency. Then the infrastructure to move gas from Perla to Sucre state does not exist at this time. There is a pipeline system that moves gas from Sucre to the gas hub that plugs it in to the national system. This then is not a solution to T&T’s immediate problem of an inadequate domestic level of gas production. Venezuela sending gas from Perla or its share of the Loran-Manatee field to be processed at Atlantic does not solve our problem of a  domestic gas shortfall. The question is: what will T&T have to give Venezuela in exchange for Venezuelan gas fed into Atlantic? And what is the benefit to T&T with third party gas processing which is supplied outside of T&T? To solve the domestic gas shortfall the government of T&T has to grasp the mettle and engage with BP and not evade the issues as the previous government to the detriment of T&T.

Caribbean drug trade: understand the message from the US

On Friday last the US Coast Guard San Juan sector announced that 4, 33 foot high speed special purpose interceptor craft will be placed in the US Virgin Islands two on St Thomas and on St Croix. In addition 6 fast response Coast Guard cutters have been assigned to the US Coast Guard San Juan sector with the first to arrive in summer 2015. The San Juan sector comprises Puerto Rico and the US Virgin islands. Whilst the US is in 2015 reducing the assets committed to drug interdiction in non-US jurisdictions in the Caribbean basin it has circled the wagons in its own territories implementing the fortress USA strategy where a ring of steel will be erected to handle the assault on the borders of US territories in the Caribbean as the first line of defence of the US homeland. The US in 2015 faced with the tsunami of product launched from the Caribbean basin and the failure and /or unwillingness of the narco-democrasies of the Caribbean basin to deal with the threat emanating from their state has now adopted its fall back position. Don’t swallow the flowery diplomatic discourse monitor the military strategy of the US in the Caribbean as they are both out of sync. Pax Mexicana. Think about those Caribbean states who have the money to buy but refused to buy military assets for their own ring of steel. Progreso magazine of Mexico published a story of the Cuinis drug trafficking organisation of Mexico which stands above all the cartels pushed in the media as Sinaloa Federation. Cuinis supply product to Europe and is untouched in its operations supposedly making it the richest and most powerful drug trafficking group in the world today. Finally the propaganda of the West is being questioned. The famous cartels on the ground in Mexico are the visible and expendable arms of a structure that runs an illicit industry from the shadows and the most powerful members of this structure are the international traffickers not those who touch the product on its way to the US. These faceless operatives meet with the captains of capitalism daily as this structure is fully integrated into globalised capitalism. El Chapo is not the face of this group just the expendable errand boy. Stop believing that the structure is driven by self made street thugs who rose through the ranks. That is just a dream sold to young recruits for gang life. The structure created and unleashed Pax Mexicana on the Caribbean basin as one of its strategic options to rule the world. Think on it.

Pax Mexicana’s investment in Caribbean gangland today

Eight shipping containers bound for the Dominican Republic from Cartagena, Colombia were interdicted with some 985 kilos of cocaine packed in the floors of the containers. What must be noted is that the cocaine was packed in one pound packages not the trade standard of kilo bricks. The one pound packages were branded “Rasta”. Some 522 kilos of cocaine seized in Barranquilla, Colombia destined for Belgium were also packed in one pound packages. One pound packages of wrapped branded product have appeared in the Caribbean island chain and the initial impression was wholesalers were re-packaging kilo bricks in smaller lots for movement within Caribbean domestic drug markets. Both interdictions have now indicated that this is a cartel strategy to foster the operations of their Caribbean gangland affiliates as they move to dominate the wholesale and retail segments of Caribbean domestic drug markets  and more importantly expand their international drug trafficking operations to the US and Europe. Pax Mexicana is then investing in the expansion and the rise in power of Caribbean gangland not only in the Caribbean but in the consumer markets. The  evolution advances unhindered.