Good news for this country’s energy industry as TT has been granted an amended license from the United States Treasury Department Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC), which will allow the Government of Trinidad & Tobago to pay for natural gas exported from the Dragon Gas field in Venezuela in any currency or in humanitarian aid.
During a media briefing at the Ministry of Energy in Port-of-Spain last evening, Energy Minister Stuart Young said the news had been communicated to him around midday yesterday via their lawyers in Washington, following which Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley, who is currently in Canada for the first-ever Canada-Caricom Summit, was immediately apprised; along with Venezuela Vice President Delcy Rodriguez.
Young said, “The US government has issued, through the Treasury Department, OFAC, to the Government of T&T, an amendment to the licence that we had requested, in the terms that we have requested.”
The Office of Financial Assets Control (OFAC) continually maintains a number of sanctions lists on behalf of the United States Department of Treasury.
Young explained that T&T’s amended licence will now run for two years until October 31, 2025.
T&T had initially been granted a two-year licence to explore the gas field, which is in Venezuelan waters, in January.
Young claimed the amendment to the licence would provide T&T with, “more than enough time for us to get done what needs to get done”.
He said, “It also allows the Government of T&T, working along with NGC and Shell, to negotiate complete negotiations and all agreements with the government of Venezuela and PDVSA for the development and the production, and the export of that gas from the Dragon Gas Field into T&T for us to develop it, and for us to make payments in Fiat currency, as well as US dollars, as well as Bolivars, as well as via humanitarian measures, which was what was envisaged initially.”
Young continued, “That OFAC licence now is a full green light for us to be able to do what needs to be done.”
In the meantime, he said T&T continues to engage Venezuela and PDVSA via virtual meetings as they seek to work out what he said were the “granular level of detail for the pricing and for the development of the gas for Dragon”.
Revealing that he will soon be leading a team back to Venezuela to finalise arrangements, the minister said it was not over yet despite what the naysayers were saying.
In addition to working out the commercial terms, Young said they were also working out the technical terms with Shell’s engineers on how quickly the gas could be brought to T&T for processing.
He boasted that T&T had been one of the first country’s to receive a significant OFAC licence to be able to pursue the Dragon Gas Field.
T&T and Venezuela signed the agreement to jointly explore the Dragon Gas Field last month.