T&T’s first energy port, which was officially opened yesterday at Point Galeota, Guayaguayare, advances government’s plans to form a regional link with energy companies in Suriname, Guyana and north Brazil. So said Energy Minister Kevin Ramnarine who added that US$85 million port was opened to facilitate south-south co-operation, an initiative recommended by Persad-Bissessar in the People’s Partnership 2010 manifesto.
Port of Galeota comprises 1.2 kilometres of new access road, an energy port with five berths and eight hectares of backland with 78.6 metres dredge depth. Ramnarine said construction of the second phase of the port will begin next year at a cost of $110 million once detailed designs are completed.
“It will accommodate an additional seven berths which will enable T&T to participate in logistics activity in the wider Caribbean region,” the minister said. He added that it has already become a “dedicated berth for the T&T Coast Guard” and will benefit energy companies.
“Ninety per cent of natural gas is being produced in the east coast. Right now many companies have their base in Chaguaramas, so they have to sail around the island to get to their rigs. This port will reduce the amount of time it will take to get on their rigs and platforms and so reduce the cost and make the entire east coast energy sector more competitive,” he said.
“The port will facilitate the efficiency of upstream operators as well as facilitate our companies to do business in Suriname, Guyana and North Brazil.” Ramnarine said Galeota was the first port to be opened in T&T in 17 years. Mayaro MP Winston Gypsy Peters said 80 per cent of the labour for construction of the facility came from the Guayaguayare region but when the project started “disruptive elements” tried to stymie the work.
“This is the only energy port in T&T and I am glad that these disruptive elements did not get the opportunity to disrupt this project. I want to say to those people that they must qualify themselves and then come to look for work,” Peters said. National Energy chairman Roop Chan Chadeesingh said the South American mainland had vast potential for T&T’s energy industries.
“The Guyana/Suriname basin is considered to be one of the region’s emerging energy markets. As part of the National Energy’s mandate to promote T&T, a delegation recently visited Suriname for discussions on areas of co-operation in the development of their mining, energy and petroleum industries,” he said. Chadeesingh said Suriname’s extractive industries are diverse, unexploited and full of potential for investors.
“It is anticipated that NE’s recent mission to Suriname will serve as a spring board for future partnerships and interventions with stakeholders in their energy industry and that port will be integral to some of those initiatives.” He said four upstream operators are already using the port facilities—bpTT, BHP Billiton, Trinity Exploration and Production and Repsol. President of National Energy Dr Vernon Paltoo said the port will generate revenue and improve efficiency for upstream exploration and production operators.