GETTING THE INVESTMENT CLIMATE RIGHT
For Trinidad & Tobago to develop its substantial remaining hydrocarbon resources the country will need agility, quick execution, and a sharp focus on competitiveness and sustainability.
Through skilful and purposeful dialogue and negotiation by a Team, led by the Honourable Prime Minister, Dr. Keith Christopher Rowley, with the major oil and gas companies, the PNM Government has solved the two most serious problems in the sector that it faced upon assuming office in 2015, namely declining gas production and the absence of long-term gas supply contracts. Gas production has been stabilised and increased by over 10% and is expected to be maintained at satisfactory levels over the coming years.
The other issues that affect the energy sector are well known, the main issues being appropriate gas pricing for medium to long term commercial viability, at both the upstream and downstream ends, and a greater share for citizens of Trinidad and Tobago of the income earned in the extraction of our natural gas.
To ensure the sustainability of our energy industry, the PNM will:
- Complete the ongoing assessment of the gas value chain, so that the necessary decisions be taken quickly to assure the viability of the chain in the short and medium-term
- Continue and accelerate high-level discussions with major oil and gas companies to negotiate an even greater share of energy revenues for Trinidad and Tobago
- Review the Petroleum Taxes Act and the existing oil and gas fiscal regime with a view to simplifying it and making it more competitive to investors
- Review the application of Supplemental Petroleum Tax (SPT), particularly for small producers and mature fields, to encourage investment and job creation
- Improve transparency and accountability in bid rounds
- Encourage major upstream players with significant investments in infrastructure (Heritage, NGC, BP, Shell, BHP, EOG, Perenco and DeNovo) to share infrastructure and services
• Work with the Energy Chamber to improve various processes for the implementation of projects in Trinidad and Tobago, such as TTEngage, developed by the NGC, which can be expanded to be the primary interface for project approvals
PROMOTING DOWNSTREAM PETROCHEMICAL AND OIL PRODUCTION
Based on current information and research, demand for Methanol as a global commodity will continue to grow over the next several years and Methanol will continue to be a very viable global business.
However, because of gas pricing issues, Trinidad and Tobago may become a marginal ammonia and methanol producer and must quickly find a way to avoid the risk of being rationalized in favour of other countries. In the post-Covid-19 global environment, as energy prices continue to be depressed, petrochemical industries will be increasingly cost competitive with prices predicted to remain low. For Trinidad & Tobago to continue to operate in these industries, it must be competitive in terms of the cost of production.
To achieve increasing competitiveness in the downstream gas sector, the PNM will:
- Actively explore opportunities in the regional energy market, including small scale LNG, to support the transition from heavy fuel oil and diesel. This would include an assessment of infrastructural changes which might be required at Atlantic LNG to support this market
- Explore opportunities for access to and sharing of common gas transportation and processing infrastructure which may be underutilized, in order to optimize costs
- Ensure mechanisms are in place to ensure effective management of capacity and gas supply across Trinidad and Tobago
- Ensure continued development of competitive and competent local content
- Proactively explore opportunities to optimize and efficiently process available gas volumes, and to reduce GHG emissions, thereby creating value through the entire value chain, and allowing Trinidad and Tobago to respond to a rapidly changing global regulatory environment
To increase oil production, increase activity and create jobs, the PNM will:
- Support the national E&P company, Heritage Petroleum, with the required capital injection to ensure increased exploration and drilling for oil, proper maintenance, and workovers, and the improvement of the quality and reliability of its infrastructure
SUPPLEMENTAL PETROLEUM TAX
A dynamic exploration and development drilling campaign in the onshore oil sector will create jobs, boost economic activity, and increase oil production. Stimulating investment in drilling is key to providing these jobs and boosting economic activity.
A typical onshore development well costs around TTD $40M and creates up to 200 direct jobs for a month, with a total wage bill of $3.3M per well. This represents a significant injection of income into the community for each new well drilled. The current Supplemental Petroleum Tax (SPT) poses a specific problem when small independent companies approach potential investors. It kicks in as soon as prices average over US $50 per barrel and small independent oil companies are in a negative cash flow situation once prices are in the US$50 to US$60 per barrel range. Given that medium term average oil prices over the next 3 years are projected to be in this range, investment for onshore oil production in Trinidad and Tobago at this time is difficult to obtain. This constrains the ability of small oil producers to increase capital investment and drill more wells.
To address this issue the PNM will:
- Increase the threshold for the imposition of the SPT for small onshore oil producers to $75 per barrel for fiscal years 2021 and 2022 in the first instance
The revenue lost by removing SPT is expected to be small and will be offset by increased drilling activity and greater oil production leading to employment generation and the associated increased taxes paid by contractors and their workers.
ENERGY SERVIECS AS A KEY SOURCE OF DIVERSIFICATION AND SUSTAINABLE GROWTH
The Trinidad and Tobago energy services sector comprises approximately 720 firms, providing employment for approximately 40,000 people. The development of the energy services sector will enable Trinidad and Tobago to continue to be involved in the energy sector even after our hydrocarbons have been substantially depleted. The PNM will:
- Market Trinidad and Tobago as a regional hub for energy services
- Target and support the energy service sector as a key area for diversification and exports from Trinidad and Tobago
- Utilise the EximBank to provide project financing for Caribbean energy sector projects, with activity to be carried out by Trinidad and Tobago companies
- Review and reform the energy taxation regime to support and improve exports of energy services
- Create a Public Private Partnership Vehicle to support the regional and international expansion of the local Energy Services Sector
- Invest in Research and Development in the energy service sector R&D
- Give Tax credits to encourage investment in Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) and Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR)
- Assist service companies to invest in asset integrity projects
RENEWABLE ENERGY (RE), ENERGY EFFICIENCY (EE) AND ENERGY CONSERVATION (EC)
The Government has committed to introducing 113 MW of Renewable Energy (RE) electricity power (10% of demand) by the year 2021.
The PNM will:
- Implement an Energy Conservation and Energy Efficiency Policy and Action Plan
- Develop an Integrated Resource Plan to manage the phased implementation RE, with a target of RE meeting 30% of demand by 2030
- Introduce tax credits to encourage investment in CCS and EOR
- Implement the legislative changes needed to allow net-metering for small-scale RE electricity generation projects enabling excess sales to TTEC
- Invest in energy efficiency to create opportunities for local service companies and implement the existing tax credits
- Accelerate the CNG conversion programme
- Promote the use of Electric Vehicles through appropriate incentives for the installation of battery charging equipment and infrastructure
- Promote the use of Hybrid Vehicles through appropriate concessions
- Encourage EE, rewarding households with the lowest electricity usage
GREENHOUSE GASES & INDUSTRIAL SECTOR
Trinidad & Tobago is also a major emitter of Greenhouse Gases (GHG) either from direct combustion of natural gas/other fuels or the production of CO2 as a bi product of the manufacturing process, especially in ammonia production.
The introduction of “green petrochemicals” through the substitution of hydrogen from the natural gas reform process with hydrogen from electrolysis is one interesting business development opportunity for the country. There is an active project currently being pursued in this area, which proposes to initially utilise steam that is currently wasted from an existing power station to run a new turbine to produce electricity from hydrogen electrolysis. In the future there is also the potential to use renewable energy to produce hydrogen.
To facilitate this the PNM will:
- Support through appropriate incentives efforts to develop hydrogen as a potential fuel source for the petrochemical sector