Energy Minister Stuart Young has slammed the United National Congress for what he described as its completely unwarranted attack on the National Gas Company (NGC) and its president Mark Loquan.
On Friday, UNC MP David Lee alleged that NGC was now unable to fully supply gas to Train One. He also called for the resignation of its president Mark Loquan, alleging a poor performance by the NGC including a first-ever loss of $2 billion last year.
In a release on Saturday, Young said:
Government, via the Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries and the National Gas Company of Trinidad and Tobago (NGC) remain in very sensitive and complex negotiations with all of the shareholders of Atlantic LNG.
There are four trains at Atlantic LNG and the Government, via NGC, has shareholdings in Train 1 (10%) and Train 4 (approximately 11%). The Chinese have a 10% shareholding in Train 1 via CIC (a sovereign wealth fund). Shell and BP are the major shareholders in all four Trains.
The Government and NGC have been, and continue to be in, very complex negotiations with the major shareholders as to the future of Atlantic LNG with the objectives of, securing value for the citizens of Trinidad and Tobago via, appropriate returns, and also, the successful continuation of operations in a rapidly changing global energy environment.
The recent misinformation and mis-characterization of information that was leaked in a surreptitious manner was not surprising and was expected.
At the appropriate time we will provide the accurate information surrounding the decisions taken with respect to Atlantic LNG. However, due to the current stage of discussions and the sensitive negotiations that time is not now.
I must condemn the opposition’s completely unwarranted attack on the President of NGC, Mr Mark Loquan.
The NGC has worked hard under the steady and stable leadership of Mr Loquan and its Board and has settled many gas supply contracts with both upstream and downstream third parties. The NGC has also managed to successfully negotiate billions of dollars in claims which came about as a result of, inter alia, gas shortages due to the mismanagement of our gas sector between 2010 and 2015.
To stay competitive in the global energy sector requires a level of sophistication, stability, respect for confidentiality on certain matters and fortitude. I assure the citizens of Trinidad and Tobago that this Government is committed to protecting our future in the energy sector.
I give the assurance that, at the appropriate time, we will provide details with respect to the negotiations surrounding the future of Atlantic LNG and the outcome of such negotiations.
In conclusion, I condemn the empty and hollow rhetoric of the opposition and its agents.