After 21 months of review and work by yet another committee, the PNM has decided to lay the September 2015 Gas Master Plan (GMP) in Parliament. Over the last 21 months we were told on numerous occasions that it was being reviewed.
On October 6th 2015, former Minister of Energy Nicole Olliviere said she was reviewing the 2015 GMP given the “different priorities” of the new administration. In an address to the nation on January 11th 2017, the Prime Minister, Dr. Rowley said the 2015 GMP was being subjected to extensive review by the Government. Given the extensive review, it was surprising that the unchanged 2015 GMP, that was completed under the term of the former Government, was laid in Parliament two days ago.
In November 2014, the Ministry of Energy entered into a contract with Poten and Partners for a GMP. The report was finalized in early September 2015. It took nine months to write. The GMP was thought to be necessary because of the complex challenges facing the natural gas sector. It maps the period 2014 to 2024. Its guiding principles include, the maximization of value accruing to the people of T&T from the commercialization of their natural gas and the sustainability of the natural gas sector going forward. The GMP is not a policy document but was meant to be a resource that informs policy formulation.
Given the centrality of natural gas to our economy, the GMP is a very important document. In the context of the GMP and the fiscal regime, I wish to caution the current Government that they are creating an environment of uncertainty and inertia around the natural gas sector. The GMP is another example of this uncertainty and inertia. Such an environment does not augur well for investor confidence.
former Minister of Energy