Wednesday 27th April, 2005

 

T&T hosts gas exporters

 
 
 
 
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T&T’s Energy Minister Eric Williams, standing, greets Abdulla Bin Hamad Al Attiyah, Second Deputy Premier Minister of Energy and Industry, Qatar, left, and Erik Johnsen, deputy director general, Norway at the opening of the Fifth Ministerial Meeting of the Gas Exporters Countries Forum yesterday at the Hilton.

Photo: Shirley Bahadur

BY SANDRA CHOUTHI

T&T’s total liquified natural gas (LNG) export capacity will exceed 15 million tons per annum at year’s end, said acting Prime Minister Dr Lenny Saith yesterday.

“We have moved from zero to 15 million in six years and are naturally quite pleased with this development,” Saith said.

Speaking of the growing importance of natural gas to the world economy, Saith said, “Some scenario planners even project that gas could surpass oil as the world’s most important energy source by 2025.”

In the world’s largest energy market, the USA, the demand for gas has taken off in recent years and it is expected that its imports of this fuel could soar in the next decade to levels which rival today’s entire global LNG market, Saith said.

“High oil prices in recent times, together with a firming of natural gas prices, are resulting in a more competitive position for LNG,” Saith said.

“Growing awareness and acknowledgement of the negative environmental impact of oil and coal consumption, as well as the diminished attractiveness of nuclear energy, have led to an increased prominence of natural gas in the array of available energy options,” he said.

He was speaking at the fifth Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) at the Hilton Trinidad, St Ann’s.

T&T is taking over the chairmanship of the GECF.

Saith is acting for Prime Minister Manning who left on Monday for official visits to Chile, Peru and Venezuela as part of an aggressive lobby for the Latin American states’ support for this country’s FTAA bid.

He said recent technological innovations have made LNG processing and shipping more efficient, which have in turn resulted in increased production and sales.

“With all of these favourable conditions, it is expected that over the next decade at the global level, natural gas will produce an investment boom of close to US$100 billion,” Saith said.

Yesterday’s GECF two-day meeting of 16-member countries is the first time it’s been held outside of the Middle East, and the first in the western hemisphere.

Energy Minister Eric Williams said although GECF’s ongoing discussions were yet to be fully defined, “we must nevertheless begin now to organise ourselves if we expect to be fully prepared to deal with the vagaries of the international gas market.”

“We must also learn from our past experiences and avoid being caught off-guard,” Williams said.

He did not elaborate.

Williams, who said he thought GECF had remained true to its fundamental principles, added, “Most importantly, we have not retreated from our goal of building an open and market-oriented organisation.”

Leroy Mayers, permanent secretary in the Energy Ministry, said the meeting was taking place against a backdrop of high prevailing global oil and gas prices.

“On the basis of current oil prices, the implications are an upward price pressure on gas in markets worldwide, and prices, which are projected to rise to US$7 to US$10 on a delivered basis at Henry Hub by the end of the decade,” Mayers said.

He said T&T having leased a number of marine blocks for exploration, there’s the expectation these blocks would add to the country’s gas reserves, which are currently estimated at 33 trillion cubic feet.

 

 

 

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