Five years of failed leadership by the government of Trinidad and Tobago within our energy sector has finally broken years of hard work and progress, placing this nation in one its most volatile, grim and troubling economic positions.
The closure of a fourth massive plant in Point Lisas and the prevailing crisis facing the petrochemical industry signals not only a collapse in the national energy sector but is a direct product of mismanagement by this government given their inability to create an environment which would have been able to provide stability, security, sustainability and growth in vulnerable times such as these.
While our energy sector has felt the effects of the global economic downturn, these effects were just the “final nail in the coffin” for a fragile energy sector that has been persistently haemorrhaging investment due to the lack of dedication as well as innovation over the last five years.
The downfall of our energy sector did not begin this year but since this administration took office. Since 2015 we have seen consistent decreases in exploration and production, constant complaints by down streamers on higher prices from the NGC while in recent years we began experiencing decreases in the index of energy export prices.
All of these issues were ignored as the government failed to deliver any form of incentives, policies, or measures which would protect stakeholders from any volatile scenarios.
The Dr Keith Rowley regime must take full blame for the collapse of the energy sector. In the last two years, the opposition and many other industry-related professionals have tried to question the government on the validity of their pricing models for Natural Gas but were not taken seriously. Today we see that it is this “high priced environment” of natural gas from NGC which has brought many down streamers to their knees and on the brink of closure during this crisis.
As a matter of fact, this crisis has unravelled the untruths of this administration’s work in the energy sector as the worrying admission by the NGC chairman that negotiations with up streamers are not going well, signals that all the “grand trips” to the foreign offices of these companies by the prime minister were nothing but political publicity stunts while the real work to secure our energy sector remained undone.
The consistent incompetence and haphazard approach towards the development of our energy sector have placed thousands of jobs and millions of national revenue into jeopardy.
If the government is serious about protecting our energy sector it must now consider working with down streamers based on their requests for reduced prices of natural gas during this crisis. The government must follow their calls of “having a heart” if they truly care about the survival of this industry and the thousands of jobs that depend on this sector.
It is quite unfortunate that the government may look to mislead the population into thinking that the recovery team can provide the answers to the energy crisis before us, however, one month’s planning cannot repair five years of damage and neglect which our energy sector has faced from this government during their term.
Member of Parliament, Point-a-Pierre