Trinidad & Tobago to support gov’t develop strong gas industry
From Constance Boakye, Port of Spain
The Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, Mrs. Kamla Persad Bissessar, has stated that her country is more than willing to partner the government of Ghana to improve the country’s energy situation, particularly, in the area of oil and gas.
She said they would be happy to partner the government of Ghana in sharing their wealth of knowledge acquired in the energy sector, especially, the vast experience gained in the production and supply of gas. Such a partnership, she said, could be based on mutual agreement in the supreme interest of the two countries.
According to her, the government of Trinidad, recognising the mutual benefit the two countries stand to gain, had expressed a desire to work closely with the government of Ghana to provide quality service in the gas sector, and had accordingly presented a proposal to that effect, hoping it would receive attention for approval.
She made this known on Wednesday at the media launch of the United Nations International Year for People of African Descent, at the Hilton Hotel, Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, which was addressed by the Paramount Chief of the Lower Axim Traditional area and President of Western Regional House of Chiefs, Awulae Attiburkusu (III).
Should there be any mutual agreement reached by the two countries, she said, the deal could guarantee the parties the unique opportunity to position Ghana’s gas reserves from the Jubilee Field, which was currently being operated by the Jubilee Partners, which ultimately, could inure to the benefit of all Ghanaians.
According to the Prime Minister, if approved by the Government of Ghana, the National Gas Company of Trinidad and Tobago would become a major partner in the production of natural gas from the Jubilee Field for the generation of electricity.
The Caribbean nation depends 100 percent on natural gas for its entire energy needs of some 1,500 megawatts, which she believes, had made her country a power player in the management of the gas resource from the oil and gas industry.
The agreement, she said, could guarantee the parties the unique opportunity to position Ghana’s gas production from the Jubilee field to the benefit of all Ghanaians.
Mrs. Bissessar said, “My government has approved, in principle, a very strong cooperation between our two countries on the exploitation of Ghana’s natural gas. We have the expertise and knowledge, and Ghana has acknowledged that. We hope that Ghana will approve our proposal.”
She described the relationship being developed by the two countries as very much in tune with her vision of building greater South-South cooperation.
Ghana and Trinidad, being among the members of Commonwealth, which includes several other African countries, she underscored, could be used as a platform to help sustain the mutual interest and development of Africa and Caribbean nations.
Trinidad & Tobago, which discovered oil 100 years ago, is the world’s leading producer of ammonia, urea, and methanol, all coming from natural gas.
Much of Ghana’s Petroleum Revenue Management Bill and the Local Content Policy were modeled on Trinidad, based on their rich experience.
Answering questions from the media on Ghana’s oil and gas business, she said it would be the first time that her country has had the opportunity to go out of the island to share her experience and expertise for the benefit of another producer country.
Consequently, she expressed the utmost hope that the partnership would be of immense mutual benefit to the two nations.
Trinidad and Tobago is famous for its strong local content in oil and gas, and many believe Ghana could emulate that.
A 21-member delegation from Ghana, led by Ghana’s Deputy Energy Minister, Mr. Emmanuel Armah Kofi Buah, which was in the country to assess opportunities in the energy sector after the media lunch of the United Nations International Year for People of African Descent, took advantage to visit the $3 billion Point Lisas Industrial Estate, which is housing the world’s biggest ammonia plant, and hosts 103 industries connected to gas feedstock.
All 103 companies, employing up to 18,000 people, are managed by locals, according to the managers of the country’s gas sector, which is helping to maintain strong local content in the gas and oil industry.
Speaking to the delegation from Ghana, Nigel Salina, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of CAF Holdings, said the group was seeking to replicate the Point Lisas Industrial Estate in Ghana, but on a larger scale, since Ghana has more gas reserves than Trinidad and Tobago.
The delegation also met Andrew Macintosh, President of the National Gas Company, and Eugene Tieh, CEO of Phoenix Park Gas Processors Limited, and other companies that are interested in the Ghana gas project.
Mr. Emmanuel Armah Kofi Buah said that the Ghana Government was grateful for the technical assistance so far provided, and mentioned the crafting of the local content policy document with the support of Trinidad and Tobago experts.
He expressed optimism about the partnership with Trinidad and Tobago, and emphasised President Mills’ determination to ensure that the oil and gas find in Ghana benefited the Ghanaian people.
The paramount chiefs of the Nzema Traditional area, who were part of the 21 delegation, were led by the Western Regional House of Chiefs President, Awulae Attiburkusu (III).
The delegation also included members of parliament from Nzema, and all the district chief executives.
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