T&T’s national secret: the LNG business

The LNG business in T&T is wrapped in secrecy as if it’s a covert dark op. You learn more about the LNG business in T&T from sources external of T&T than from where the business operates from so much for transparency in a democracy. At this time in the history of T&T where the energy paradigm that fashioned our entire economy and consumption patterns is in its death throes as a new energy paradigm sweeps the world we continue to be inundated with propaganda and blissful silence. The business guardian of January 10, 2016 printed an article titled “Atlantic confident about LNG’s future” which again is another instance of the play on the people of T&T. Who says Atlantic’s future is our future? A globalised transnational seeks its own interests and when those interests and T&T’s collide will they supplant theirs for ours? Like duh neo-liberal capitalism is not a charity. What the article didn’t tell us even though Atlantic said it before is that Atlantic says it cannot speak for Train 4 as it’s governed by a different structure where Atlantic is just a processor of gas to LNG supplied by companies and the LNG belongs to the supplier of gas not Atlantic therefore Atlantic cannot sell it internationally. So when Atlantic chooses to speak locally we remain ignorant of what is going on with LNG exported from Train 4 because the gas suppliers simply disclose nothing. In the said article Atlantic says in fact the LNG from trains 1 to 3 are sold on long term contracts but as to expiry dates of these contracts silence. As to the impact of the present LNG market on these contracts silence since we know at least one contract for train 1 expired and LNG was sourced from Yemen replacing Atlantic. In the article Atlantic says that they have destination flexibility in their contracts for their LNG. What does this mean for T&T’s revenue collection and how do we as a nation in these guava times benefit from this. Does it mean that LNG is sent on a long term contract to Gas Natural of Spain of which Repsol is a major shareholder who then resells the gas and T&T does not share in the profit of this reselling play? In the article Atlantic says that 51% of its LNG is sold in South America but according to the trade journals the major buyers of LNG in this region buy subject to demand through tender bids and short term contracts based on fixed load amounts. When there is no demand there is no tender. Newsday of January 19, 2016 in an article titled “Energy Minister says use it or lose it” reported that the Minister of Energy indicated that the the arrangement where the profit earned from the sale of diverted LNG cargoes was shared on a 50/50 basis is now up in the air. The Minister asked the question if diverted cargoes to South America were being passed to arms of the shareholders of Atlantic via transfer pricing who then sold the diverted cargoes thereby evading paying to T&T our share of the profits earned via diversion. We all should call for an answer from Atlantic. Wait on it. We all must now understand that this not a specific aspect of the so-called commodity cycle T&T is in. A new energy paradigm with a new brand of geopolitics is battling a falsified energy/geopolitics paradigm for hegemony and T&T is on the losing side. This new paradigm is more than US shale gas and oil it’s also Chinese shale oil and gas, Argentinian shale oil and gas and the inclusion of the huge gas resources of Iran as the South Pars fields into the world energy markets. The dinosaurs of the old paradigm as the house of saud and the angry white dinosaurs of US politics will rant and rave and bay at the moon and end up as the Luddites of the first industrial revolution. T&T live with the reality and deal with it this one denial will not postpone.

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