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Tobago forecast to be major energy player
Victor Hart, chairman of the government-appointed Steering Committee of the T&T Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (TTEITI), says Tobago may soon become a major energy player. He said in 2011 Government collected $9.4 million in revenue in 2011 from energy giant Centrica, which conducted deep-water exploration for natural gas off Charlotteville, Tobago, and received $9.4 billion from bpTT and $3.5 billion from Petrotrin in oil and gas revenues.
Hart was speaking during a recent courtesy call by TTEITI officials on Chief Secretary of the Tobago House of Assembly Orville London. During the visit they presented the First Annual Extractive Industry Report 2011, which for the first time showed the revenues companies have paid to Government in a fiscal year.
Hart said in the period covered in the report, there was minimal energy sector activity in Tobago except for when Centrica was exploring for gas off Charlotteville in Block 22. Since then, in 2012 and 2013, Government had awarded deep-water contracts to bpTT and BHP Billiton for acreages off Speyside, while Centrica has continued operations off Charlotteville. “What is good for the future of Tobago is that it is on the cusp of becoming a major energy player in the future,” he said.
“Although we hear about reserves being reduced in Trinidad through the Scott report and so on, we could find over the next decade a shift in emphasis in production in Trinidad and off Pt Galeota, for instance, into greater production off the coast of Tobago. So, Tobago is really on the verge of becoming a major player if the projections of very good finds materialise.”
Hart added that the Minister of Energy Kevin Ramnarine had stated many times how confident he is that the deep-water activities taking place nationally will generate some large oil and gas finds. “As a result, we could see in future reports not just $9.4 million, as in the 2011 report, but major revenue generated by offshore reserves in Tobago,” he said.
Hart said the report outlined what ever energy company paid, independent of what it received from the Board of Inland Revenue and the Ministry of Energy and Energy Affairs. He said the receipts were audited by an independent accounting firm to ensure there were no discrepancies. He said that countries worldwide that have implemented the EITI showed less signs of corruption because of the transparency the process brought to payments made to governments.
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