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.

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