The Opposition is deeply concerned by the fact that the Prime Minister, Dr Keith Rowley, appears to have misunderstood and misinterpreted the concept of natural gas reserves.
When Dr Rowley recently claimed that Trinidad & Tobago has seven years of natural gas remaining, it was alarmist, and his most compelling demonstration yet that he does not understand his role as Prime Minister, the responsibility of Government and the intricacies of energy reserves and policy.
Such alarmist statements also add further negative pressures that could hurt confidence in the economy, and ultimately hurt the citizens.
In its haste to point fingers and pin fault, the Government has consistently sabotaged its own efforts at preserving economic stability and in three months, it is their own negative comments and doomsday thinking that have hastened the economic stagnation we are now experiencing.
Silence and secrecy are also adding further pressures to an already bleak outlook, as the Minister of Energy and Energy Industries has not made public the 2014 Ryder Scott report, despite having it for over three months. The only thing the public and energy sector stakeholders have gotten are excuses that the report and the natural gas master plan are being ‘reviewed’ by the Standing Committee on Energy.
The previous Government ensured that the previous report, in 2013, was made public on account of ensuring that the energy sector was governed by transparency, facts and modern policies.
We are only left to assume that Dr Rowley was in fact commenting on only ‘proven reserves’ which is one of four categories considered by Ryder Scott. It is also clear that Dr Rowley’s statements, and the Ryder Scott findings, have not yet considered the potential of the deep-water exploration programme initiated by the People’s Partnership Government.
It must also be noted that in 2010, we inherited an energy sector where exploration was dormant, foreign direct investment was US$500 Million and investors had little confidence for the future.
By 2015, we more than doubled rig operations, restored an active exploration sector and quadrupled foreign direct investment to US$2.1 Billion. We achieved this not by complaining at every opportunity, but by having a vision and plan and getting down to work. Dr Rowley and his Government appear to have neither plan, nor vision, and no actual work is taking place.