PM says Dragon Gas deal could be the first of many with Venezuela

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PM says Dragon Gas deal could be the first of many with Venezuela

Now that the Dragon Gas field deal is a done deal, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley is hinting that this may the first of many with Venezuela.

He also insisted that the deal had nothing to do with politics.

Rowley spoke during a media briefing on Friday afternoon, on the heels of the announcement that T&T had officially secured the licence to exploit the Dragon Gas field.

Rowley said Trinidad and Tobago “had a lot riding on this”.

In his statement to the media, he said: “We were able to come to the table with our experts and their experts, our advisors and their advisors, and hammer out an agreement that allows us today to have the signatures of Trinidad and Tobago and Venezuela on this document which is the golden fleece, a license for Trinidad and Tobago to exploit natural gas in a gas field outside of our borders, inside the border of Venezuela, with the approval of the government and people of Venezuela.

“This agreement is between two sovereign states…between the governments of Trinidad and Tobago and Venezuela and we identified operators…in our case, our partner and operator would be Shell, in Venezuela’s it would be PDVSA…

“This is an historic development on an historic day for the people of Trinidad and Tobago and Venezuela…to have entered into this agreement in 2023, to open this door to allow us with the infrastructure on the ground in Trinidad to access and process the raw material from below the ground in Venezuela, puts the two nations in a position to play a bigger and more beneficial role in the world economy and for the benefit of the people of Venezuela and Trinidad and Tobago.

“This…is the first of what I anticipate will be many between Trinidad and Tobago and Venezuela, and it has nothing to do about today’s politics…it has to do with who are the people of Venezuela and who are the people of Trinidad and Tobago and as long as we remain neighbourly…this is sustainable for a long, long time.

“For the people of Trinidad and Tobago it means we’re now in a position to access more gas to keep us in the business longer, and for the people of Venezuela it means they have access to the international market and to benefit from the earnings of these operations.”

“I ask you…to ignore the naysayers and accept that this is an extremely important development if only to preserve the ability to aspire to the quality of life that we had become accustomed to.”

He also thanked those within the US, including Californian Congresswoman Maxine Waters, who assisted with negotiations to obtain a “carve out” from US sanctions.

He added that Trinidad and Tobago spoke with Venezuela on “all issues, including Guyana” and said Trinidad and Tobago’s position remains respected.

Energy Minister Stuart Young, who took part in the signing ceremony, said they intend to have surveys within the Dragon gas field in 2024 and refuted naysayers who claimed government had placed all of its eggs in one basket.

“We are negotiating Calypso which is deepwater gas [as well as] the Manatee field…last night…the Shell executive, as a result of the relationship with Trinidad and Tobago, has now challenged the Shell workers to see if they can produce Manatee and Dragon as a competition, which can come on faster than the other.

“Manatee, which is going to be the largest gas production in our waters in decades, is a go, they’re producing the plans. In April of next year, all of these things are in train.”

The deal is a partnership between the National Gas Company (NGC), Royal Dutch Shell and Venezuela PDVSA.