Minister of Energy and Energy Industries and Leader of Government Business in the Senate, Franklin Khan, answers a question posed to him in the Senate yesterday.

Trinidad and Tobago is likely to develop all of the 10 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in the Loran and Manatee gas fields, according to Energy Minister Franklyn Khan.

Speaking at the Hyatt Regency on Tuesday, on the second day of the Energy Chamber’s 2020 Energy Conference, Khan said while the agreement is to independently develop the Manatee and Loran fields, it was logical to assume that once first gas comes to T&T, then the Venezuelans also are likely to allow the resources in Loran to be produced here, as well.

He pointed out that there was no infrastructure in Eastern Venezuela for the gas and with the likelihood that the Bolivarian Republic will need cash for some time to come, it would make sense to have the gas sent to T&T in return for cash.

On Monday Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley announced that the governments of T&T and Venezuela had decided to rescind their cross border agreement for the fields because US sanctions had made it all but impossible to develop the fields jointly.

Khan rubbished the headlines in Tuesday’s daily newspapers saying the gas deals were not dead, but rather have new life. He suggested that a more appropriate headline should have been: “The Manatee eats the Dragon”.

The Energy Minister said the Manatee Deal is a game-changer since it is likely to add up to 400 million standard cubic feet of gas per day for 15 years.

This, he insisted, will bring to an end the continued natural gas shortages.

Later in the Senate, Khan assured that the delay in the start of the Dragon Field gas project will have no adverse impact on the domestic gas supply. He said Dragon Field production wasn’t factored into the Ministry’s forecast.

He said gas production was expected to increase by 2024 and the Loren Manatee field will come on stream also, adding about 270-400 million cubic feet of gas per day.

On gas supply for Pt Lisas, Khan said National Gas Company (NGC) is in “very delicate talks” with the downstream petrochemical sector. He said a gas contract has been concluded regarding that sector and a couple of outstanding ones have to be settled also.

Khan also said no adverse issues have been reported to security or maintenance units at Petrotrin’s Augustus Long hospital or the former company’s health centres.

He said no final decision has been made to reopen these centres – but at the end of Petrotrin’s two-year medial insurance plan, a final decision would be taken on how to proceed with these medical facilities. He said they’ve all been secured and drugs from these centres distributed to regional health authorities.