Trinidad and Tobago Secures Major Gas Deal with Shell and Venezuela

Trinidad and Tobago’s Energy Minister Stuart Young expressed satisfaction with Shell’s decision to exploit the Manatee gas field, marking a significant step in regional energy cooperation.

In a significant development for the energy sector of Trinidad and Tobago, Shell has decided to move forward with the exploitation of the Manatee gas field, a decision that has garnered praise from the country’s Minister of Energy and Energy Industries, Stuart Young. This field, discovered in 2005, is part of a cross-border discovery between Venezuela and Trinidad and Tobago in the Loran-Manatee area, boasting around 10 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

The Manatee gas field is a critical asset in the region’s energy landscape, with its vast reserves split between Venezuela (7.3 trillion cubic feet) and Trinidad and Tobago (2.7 trillion cubic feet). This development will boost Trinidad and Tobago’s energy sector and will be a pivotal moment for regional energy collaboration. The field’s strategic importance is magnified by its location and the volume of resources, making it one of the most significant natural gas initiatives in the Caribbean.

Venezuela’s state-owned Petróleos de Venezuela (PdVSA) announced in late December that it had granted a license to Trinidad and Tobago for the extraction and exportation of gas in collaboration with Shell. This license, effective for three decades, outlines an initial production phase of 185 million cubic feet daily. The partnership underlines a significant cross-border cooperative effort to enhance both nations’ energy security and economic prospects.

Setting the Stage for Future Growth

Energy Minister Stuart Young highlighted on his Facebook page that the project is currently in the approval phase, with commercial production expected to commence in 2028. This timeline indicates a cautious yet optimistic progression from planning to execution, underscoring large-scale energy projects’ complexities and logistical challenges.

The project’s Final Investment Decision (FID) is scheduled for approval by the end of this year. This decision will pave the way for Trinidad and Tobago’s most significant hydrocarbon development in the last two decades. Minister Young attributes the progress of this project to the prime minister’s vision and leadership, emphasizing the role of governmental foresight and initiative in bringing such large-scale projects to fruition.

Government and Industry Collaboration

In his statements, Minister Young also stressed the importance of government competence and the trust placed in it by major international partners like Shell. “This development is a major achievement for Trinidad and Tobago and would not have occurred without the confidence and competence of this Government, as well as our belief in Trinidad and Tobago,” he remarked.

Such collaborations are crucial for ensuring energy security and sustainability in Trinidad and Tobago. The government’s ability to secure agreements with significant industry players reflects its commitment to leveraging natural resources responsibly and strategically. Furthermore, the Ministry of Energy of Trinidad and Tobago issued a license on October 17, 2023, valid until October 31, 2025. This license authorizes the Trinidad and Tobago government, the National Gas Company of Trinidad and Tobago, Shell PLC, and its affiliates to conduct business with the Venezuelan government and PdVSA in the Dragon field, located in Venezuelan waters off the northeastern coast and adjacent to the northwest coast of Trinidad.

The regional implications of these developments are profound. As Trinidad and Tobago strengthens its energy sector, it shows how nations can effectively manage and utilize their natural resources through international cooperation. Venezuela’s involvement, despite its complex political and economic circumstances, adds a layer of geopolitical significance to this project, showcasing how energy resources can act as bridges in diplomacy and economic partnerships.

Also read: Trinidad and Tobago’s Environmental Odyssey as it Unravels the Complexities of Battling the Oil Spill Crisis

The forward movement on the Manatee gas field project represents a significant stride in Trinidad and Tobago’s energy strategy. It promises to boost the local economy by tapping into substantial natural gas reserves and strengthens the nation’s position as a leader in energy within the Caribbean. The collaboration with Shell and Venezuela under this new agreement is expected to bring long-term benefits, ensuring a steady supply of power and fostering economic stability in the region. As these plans come to fruition, they will likely serve as a model for future international energy cooperation, particularly in areas rich in natural resources but plagued by historical political and economic instability.

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