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Trinidad and Tobago energy sector unattractive

Dear Sir:

The recent media reports that this government’s only bid rounds held since coming into office may have failed due to the only two joint bidders falling short of the ministry of energy’s requirements is a clear indication that this regime’s absence of innovation, proactive action as well as due diligence have made our nation energy sector unattractive, unsustainable to foreign investors and placed it on the verge of collapse in relation to its robust performance in the past.

As a nation that was built on the backbone of our once-booming energy sector, we must pose the questions as to why would only one single consortium bid for three blocks as opposed to numerous companies on an individual basis? Why have these major companies which have a vast amount of experience and years of operation in our sector failed to meet the basic requirements?

The answer is quite simple yet shameful from a national point of view. The fact is this Government has failed to create the incentives, policies, and programs that would inspire, motivate as well as encourage foreign companies to invest their operations into our sector.

The demise of our energy sector by this government’s incompetence was quite evident when only last month we saw this country lose out on the opportunity to create hundreds of jobs when BHP opted to build its platform for the Ruby project outside of Trinidad and Tobago.

It is quite astounding and detrimental to our national prosperity that while Guyana emerges as the Energy Capital of the Caribbean, this administration’s failed promises and inaction is causing our once vibrant energy revenue earning stream to slip away.

What we have seen is four years of talk yet no action by this government as it pertains to the stability and viability of our energy sector. All we have seen is a constant hemorrhage of economic activity, productivity as well as, the absence of any significant investment within the energy sector under Dr Keith Rowley led government.

Where are the appropriate strategies to monetize the discovery of reserves of natural gas found in deep waters as promised in their manifesto?

Where is the promised environment in which producer companies, both existing and new, would become aggressive about seeking new discoveries in oil and gas as stated in their manifesto?

In the last budget, we saw government attempt to mask their failures within the energy sector with some minute concessions which are not only insufficient to be effective but have come four years too late.

This latest revelation of the failed bid rounds is a clear message to the government of Trinidad and Tobago by the large experienced companies that no longer are they willing to put their full resources into our energy sector unless proper attractive policies are created. Further, it is a preview of the possible failure that could emerge if this government undertakes its committed deepwater bid in the future.

This administration needs to end their lazy approach and work to ensure we are competitive once more given the rise of Guyana’s energy sector. Had this government been more rationale in its approach and left our refinery operating, it would have been significantly productive given the millions of barrels of oil being found in Guyana coupled with their need to utilize refining operations.

David Lee

Member of Parliament, Point-a-Pierre

Deputy Political Leader, United National Congress (UNC) and Opposition Chief Whip



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