Minister of Energy and Energy Industries and Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister, The Honourable Stuart R. Young, MP met with US delegates, the Ambassador of the French Republic and the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Dominican Republic to reinforce the need for integration between T&T and the respective countries, all of whom outlined plans for improved use of energy in the future.
Details follow in this press release from the Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries:
The Minister of Energy and Energy Industries and Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister, the Honourable Stuart R. Young M.P. had back to back meetings with three (3) stakeholders on Tuesday 29th March 2022 to discuss energy related matters while strengthening bilateral arrangements between the countries.
In addition to meeting with Ms. Barbara Feinstein, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Caribbean Affairs and Haiti who was accompanied by Mr. Shante Moore, Charge d’ Affairs, Embassy of the United States of America which was sent in an earlier media release, Minister Young also received a courtesy call from Ambassador of the French Republic, His Excellency Didier Chabert at the Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries, International Waterfront Complex Head-Office.
Minister Young welcomed the Ambassador and extended his thanks to him on behalf of Trinidad and Tobago for the leading role of France in the crisis between Ukraine and Russia. He shared with Excellency Chabert his appreciation for France’s presence and support in Trinidad and Tobago, notably through the company Perenco and its contribution in the oil and gas landscape.
The Minister pledged his commitment towards the increased output of Perenco and encouraged His Excellency to inform the Minister of any mutually beneficial opportunities to partner with France.
He mentioned that France and T&T have a 60-year diplomatic relationship being celebrated this year that he is keen to see develop into deeper bilateral relationships.
The Ambassador agreed with the Minister and expressed a desire to also have deeper regional ties with Caricom nations.
The Minister responded to His Excellency’s interest in current projects in T&T by discussing the development of hydrogen/green energy and their critical role in Trinidad and Tobago’s energy balance which he desires to see come to fruition. He also mentioned the government’s goals with respect to green initiatives and to explore what petroleum chemicals that T&T produces be in keeping with the European standards.
Minister Young expressed that the government is actively pursuing opportunities for maritime and ship maintenance facilities in the northwest of Trinidad with its acquisition of the Caridock facilities and that the government is open to opportunities for expansion in that area.
The Ambassador mentioned that the French energy giant, TotalEnergies had recently commissioned a services and logistics base in the North-West of Trinidad and Minister Young confirmed that this was another area of potential and strength in Trinidad and Tobago’s energy sector.
Minister Young thanked Excellency Chabert for the visit and expressed his enthusiasm for future engagements. He again reiterated his desire to reinforce strong bilateral ties between the two countries.
Following the courtesy call with the French Ambassador, Minister Young also met with His Excellency Wellington Dario Bencosme Castanos, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of The Dominican Republic. Minister Young greeted the Ambassador and welcomed him to Trinidad and Tobago. His Excellency Castanos in turn, briefly shared his experience in T&T thus far and described it as a favourable one.
Ambassador Castanos shared the Dominican Republic’s ambition to reduce greenhouse gases by 25% by the year 2030 as well as other reduction targets to aid in diversifying their matrix by 25%. He stated that they recently were able to establish an energy pact between the public and private sectors, after years of discussions that sought to align their interests.
His Excellency also expressed his interest in visiting the Pt Lisas facilities. Though not a part of CARICOM; Excellency Castanos highlighted one of the main mandates of the Dominican Republic’s foreign policy, which is to strengthen ties with CARICOM partners. He expressed that the Dominican Republic does have a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Caricom and are a part of the ECPA, therefore there is a strong relationship with the countries of CARICOM especially T&T and scope for collaboration.
He identified products that are imported from the Dominican Republic to T&T such as bananas and avocados and that alternatively, the Dominican Republic purchases a lot of urea from T&T which is then used to produce fertilizers.
He stated that as they move more towards diversification of its energy production in the Dominican Republic by utilizing more natural gas, the main goal is to strengthen the relationships of partners.
Minister Young agreed that T&T is interested in any opportunity to strengthen bilateral relations with friendly companies. He highlighted that the region is full of resources but we must develop more strategic relationships such as in the energy products and agriculture spaces.
The Ambassador addressed the Dominican Republic’s initiative and investment towards electric vehicles, stating that charging ports are becoming more popular in the country
Opportunities for cooperation with T&T
His Excellency expressed the desire of the Dominican Republic to sign an Air Service Agreement with T&T. The request was made and is currently with the Ministry of Foreign and Caricom Affairs and the Ministry of Works and Transport. This initiative has the potential to introduce the opportunity for direct transit to and from the two countries.
His Excellency discussed plans for a mega project with the development of a hotel hub in the Southern region of the Dominican Republic. An invitation was extended to the Honourable Minister to visit and for possible investment in the energy-related matters of that project.
The Honourable Minister extended his gratitude to His Excellency for the courtesy call.