Yesterday the US placed economic sanctions on state owned, Venezuelan oil company PDVSA. These sanctions include a freeze on PDVSA’s assets in the US and barring American firms from doing business with that company.
T&T must therefore be wary of the implications on this PNM Government’s Dragon Gas Deal.
We must ask whether it will be difficult to effect payments in US currency and whether companies with interests in the US, including Shell, might be minded to reconsider dealing with a US sanctioned enterprise.
In this regard, the Minister of Energy must tell us what is TT’s position? Are meetings with PDVSA continuing? Are we still spending the estimated $1 billion on the project? What are the implications in terms of any possible regime change in Venezuela?
Are we heading for another Sandals situation where the Government started off by saying that Sandals would foot the bill? The story then changed to the taxpayers in partnership with the private sector financing the project. Lastly we were informed that the taxpayer would pay for the entire thing. We are told one thing today and another the next day.
Too much is at stake for arrangements to be made behind closed doors. We demand straight answers especially when taxpayers’ dollars are at risk.
We cannot remain silent witnesses to expensive failed endeavours like Malcolm Jones’ Gas to Liquids project which started off with shared costs only to be informed that the TT taxpayer was left footing the entire bill.
Will T&T now have to wholly fund the pipeline to the Dragon Oilfield? Is the agreement worded in such a way as to survive a change of Government? Is our investment risk free?
The Prime Minister indicated during his Report to the Nation in early January that “Shell is going to put up some of the money. We (T&T) might be asked to put up some of the money. We may have to put up, let’s say, a billion dollars in that pipeline to ensure that we have gas to run our economy in Point Lisas.”
Given all the ambiguities and uncertainties we demand clear and definitive answers on this project.
MP for Naparima.