Newly elected chairman of the Energy Chamber Eugene Tiah has called on government to provide clarity in a number of areas that are crucial for the advancement of the local energy sector.
With government having outlined the desire for a new tax regime for the upstream oil and gas industry in each of the last three annual budgets, Tiah said while there had been consultation with the Ministry of Finance and the IMF, “There is still a lack of final resolution and clarity about exactly what is intended.”
Delivering his maiden speech during yesterday’s post Annual General Meeting panel discussion at the Hyatt Regency in Port-Of-Spain, Tiah, who is also the Executive Chairman of the Energy & Industrial Gases BU of Massy, labelled the Finance Minister’s prediction that the gas industry was expecting modest growth in production over the next few years as “good news.”
He said this growth was the direct result of significant new investment flowing into the country’s upstream gas sector.
He added that the Energy Chamber was focused on ensuring T&T remained an attractive investment destination.
Tiah said, “With US $10 billion of investment committed over the next four to five years to upstream gas, we are clearly making significant progress with this objective.”
In spite of that, he said significant work remained to be done to ensure further growth in both the oil and gas sectors.
Focusing on the oil industry, Tiah said, “The role of state-owned Petrotrin remains a crucial issue and there continues to be a lack of clear policy on the future of the company by the government.”
Turning his attention to the downstream business, he stated that in the LNG and petrochemicals sector “there are still many unresolved issues that require urgent attention”
He added: “Without clarity on policy and the right contractual terms, shareholders in downstream facilities will be unwilling to commit the necessary capital to maintain our highly successful mid and downstream sector.”
Also advocating for a clear focus to be maintained regarding ease of doing business, Tiah said, “At present, there are just too many disincentives to investment.”
He said reforming the industrial relations environment and overcoming constraints in the labour market were imperative for any diversification drive.
The event also featured a spirited panel discussion moderated by outgoing chairman and BHP Billiton T&T president Vincent Pereira that included Norman Christie, regional president of bpTT, Dwight Mahabir, chairman of the Damus Group of Companies and Nigel Darlow, chief executive officer at Atlantic LNG