Trinidad pursues Venezuelan gas despite upheaval

Trinidad pursues Venezuelan gas despite upheaval


Gas-short Trinidad and Tobago will pursue discussions with Venezuela for access to the Dragon natural gas field despite the resignation this week of Caracas’ petroleum minister, the Caribbean country’s energy minister Stuart Young said.

By Argus Media – Canute James

Mar 22, 2023

Venezuela’s minister Tareck El Aissami, who was leading his country’s negotiations with Trinidad, resigned amid a corruption probe involving state oil company PdV.

Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro has named the head of PdV, Pedro Tellechea, as the country’s new oil minister.

“None of these developments has affected or are expected to affect our ongoing discussions and negotiations with the government of Venezuela or with PdV,” Young said.

Young has visited Caracas twice this year to restart negotiations on access to the Venezuelan offshore gas field after the US Treasury Department granted a waiver from extensive sanctions targeting the South American country.

The negotiations also involve Shell that will operate the Dragon project, and Trinidad state gas company NGC.

Young and PdV signed a non-disclosure agreement over the project on 14 March.

The agreement covers the exchange of information “as the talks progressed the technical and commercial aspects of the planned development,” he said.

Dragon forms part of Venezuela’s 14.7 Tcf Mariscal Sucre complex that also includes the Patao, Mejillones and Rio Caribe fields.

US sanctions on Venezuela had scuttled negotiations between Trinidad and Venezuela on the Dragon project in 2018.

The initial plan was for Trinidad to purchase 150mn cf/d of gas that would have been transported through a planned pipeline to a Shell platform in Trinidad.

Trinidad needs more gas as its output has been recovering since November 2017 following a long slide from a peak of 4.3 Bcf/d in 2010.

Gas flow in November 2022 reached 2.64 Bcf/d, 12pc higher than in November 2021.

The fall in output has suppressed production of LNG, petrochemicals and fertilizers.

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