Gas supply crisis in Trinidad and Tobago and the Loran-Manatee field

The present government of T&T has placed in the public domain the nature of the gas supply crisis and the decision of the Maduro government of Venezuela to process Venezuelan gas of the Loran field in Atlantic into LNG. The opposition has long insisted that Loran-Manatee gas can fill the gas supply shortfall in T&T. But there is a deliberate confluence of opposing realities in the discourse for there is T&T’s share of the cross border gas and there is Venezuela’s share and the opposition signed on the dotted line to grant operatorship of the cross-border field to Venezuela. T&T cannot realise its share of the gas save and until Venezuela develops the field and begins production and to do this requires a series of agreements be signed between PDVSA the agent of the Venezuelan state and Chevron as none presently exist. Agreements for the Loran field must then abide by the Organic Hydrocarbon Law and be impacted by the internal politics of the PSUV and the  Great Patriotic Pole. Under the hydrocarbon law Venezuela’s share of the gas of the Loran-Manatee field belongs to Venezuela to utilise to the benefit of all Venezuelans. If it is then legal under the law to send Venezuelan gas to Atlantic in T&T to process into LNG then that LNG belongs to Venezuela and an agreement has to be worked out how Chevron is going to share in the value chain. It is illegal to hand all of the LNG to Chevron for Chevron to dispose of as the agent of PDVSA. That is why the original project conceptualisation called for LNG trains in Sucre state built by PDVSA. Why then has the Maduro government at this time played this card? The answer is called Exxon Mobil and the Essequibo border dispute. Note the full court press of Venezuela in the PetroCaribe member states. What must be noted is that as of today I have seen no announcement of the Maduro government’s decision to pipe Venezuelan gas to T&T in the Venezuelan media. What they will say is that they are researching the possibility of doing so and they have in fact said so. The feasibility is yet to be confirmed. Another play unleashed. October 27, 2015 The private media in T&T continues to play mind games given the gas supply crisis that has been going on since 2010 and only now given the urgency it deserves. On the 22/9/2015 an article titled: “Venezuela y Trinidad y Tobago potencian relacion enegetica” appeared on the Spanish language site of PDVSA. In this article Minister Del Pino is reported as indicating the possibility of gas from Venezuela’s Perla field being piped to Atlantic for processing into LNG. The article did not report Minister Del Pino or anyone of the Venezuelan government as saying that gas from Loran-Manatee will be sent to Atlantic and no such statement has appeared on PDVSA’s website since. Given the  fact that PDVSA is the operator of the Loran field it is expected that said announcement will come from PDVSA when there is a done deal to announce. PDVSA’s silence is instructive. On the 26/10/2015 and article titled: “Venezuela y Trinidad y Tobago iniciaran operacional conjuntas en campos transfronterizos costa afuera” where the classic language of shuffle was used to say very little. What is T&T giving Venezuela in return? What does T&T have that Venezuela wants right now? On the 27/10/2015 the Spanish language website of PDVSA carried an article titled: “Ministro Del Pino; ‘ Para la  incorporacion de barriles se requiere estabilidad de precio’ in which Minister Del Pino who is also in charge of PDVSA was reported as stating that the world price of gas has to be raised in order for the industry to be sustainable. Del Pino was in fact stating the position of Commander Hugo Chavez on exporting  Venezuela’s gas as LNG at such low prices as being a waste of the wasting resource of Venezuela. Del Pino stated that daily production of the Perla field was 400 million cubic feet of gas and that under the unitisation agreement of Loran-Manatee 80% of the gas will be sent to Guiria in Sucre state, Venezuela. That is Venezuela’s share of the gas. Del Pino is then maintaining the Chavista line on LNG and the exploitation of Venezuela’s share of Loran-Manatee gas. Those who delude themselves into believing that the Maduro government is homogeneously monolithic will be played. Also note that the present government of Guyana has played itself into a corner like little Jack Horner.

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