Cabinet yesterday agreed to the third project agreement between the Government of Trinidad and Tobago, NGC, Mitsubishi Corporation (a consortium of Mitsubishi Gas Chemical and Mitsubishi Corporation) and Massy Group for the Methanol to Dimethyl Ether project for which a project development agreement was first signed in March, 21, 2013.
Making this announcement was Energy Minister Kevin Ramnarine who said that the $6.08 billion project had many benefits for this country. He said the project, which would take two to three years to build, would create 2,000 jobs during construction phase and 180 permanent jobs when it comes on stream. The project will be very profitable based on all the economics, the Minister said. Revenues would come to this country through dividends to NGC, a shareholder as well as through corporation tax.
He said the project would act as a fillip for further diversification of the downstream energy sector and include a new project into the energy mix and would act as a catalyst for the further development of the south-western peninsula, one of the country’s growth poles. He added that the project also brings a dimension of local content through the participation of Massy Energy as one of the key shareholders of the project. He said the project was also a good example of a public/private partnership- the private sector in Japan and the private sector in Trinidad and Tobago and the Government of Trinidad and Tobago through state-owned NGC and NEC.
He said the project agreement has to be signed off by the various parties and was still subject to the approval for financing from the banks which are funding the project. However he said this is the most advanced that a petrochemical project has come in the last 12 years. “We think it is a signal of confidence by Japanese investors in Trinidad and Tobago and it would lend to the development of the southwestern peninsula where there is a need for job creation and economic activity,” Ramnarine said. He cited the TGU power plant, the Highway to Point Fortin and the BP Juniper project as other project which are designed to have the same effect on part of the country. “Alot is happening in the Southwestern peninsula and this (Methanol to Dimethyl Ether) project is good news for Trinidad and Tobago and good news for our economy,” the Minister said.
On the issue of gas supply, Ramnarine said the project would not need natural gas until 2017.
He said at a hydrocarbon strategy conference at the Hyatt, there was a discussion on ensuring that there is gas redundancy at the Union Industrial Estate, so that it is not compromised in the event that something happens to the cross island pipeline (as happened with the TGU plant). He said the plan going forward was to build redundancy into that system. “Redundancy would be built in by way of another pipeline supplying natural gas into Union from another part of the NGC grid and that such give investors like Mitsubishi some assurance that events like that (with the leak in the cross island pipeline) would not affect them,” he said.