The National Gas Company (NGC) is about to take control of the operations of Atlantic LNG’s Train 1, essentially becoming a competitor to its own customers in the Downstream, in what is seen as a major conflict of interest.
Now, several downstream petrochemical companies have written to the Minister of Energy and Energy Industries, Franklin Khan, to express their displeasure and concern and for him to fix the issue.
In the letter, which was obtained by Guardian Media and signed by five Chief Executive Officers of Point Lisas Petrochemical companies, they reminded Khan that as leaders of the largest Downstream petrochemical producers in Trinidad and Tobago they represent 24 plants, more than 30,000 direct and indirect employees and invested capital of over US$8billion and had noted with grave concern the recent reports regarding Atlantic’s Train 1 liquefied natural gas (LNG) processing facility.
“Not only is the sector’s significant current contribution to the national economy at risk, in the form of hundreds of millions of dollars per year of direct revenue, over 25 per cent of country Forex, 1,500-plus highly skilled direct employees; not including thousands of other permanent employees, as well as over 30,000; more in the services and support sectors; this decision also imperils the future growth of the sector.
“We are therefore deeply concerned by the NGC’s reported multimillion-dollar investment to maintain the operability of Train 1. This will substantially deepen the NGC’s role in the LNG industry and could create incentives to prioritize gas supply to its own investments, to the detriment of its clients. In effect, this appears to us as an unambiguous conflict of interest to the NGC’s primary mandate, making the NGC a competitor to its own customers in the Downstream. Furthermore, this decision comes in a period where the supply of economical gas is already under severe strain- and likely to remain so throughout 2021.”
Energy Minister Franklin Khan is expected to meet with the CEO’s at noon today after which he will make a statement to the media.