In T&T: US$6b Saudi project explained to US

10 February 2012


Saudi allegiances to be explained to U.S. by Energy Ministry, T&T – B’dos pipeline project to be completed by 2015.

Energy Minister Kevin Ramnarine said yesterday his Ministry responded to concerns raised by United States Ambassador Beatrice Wilkinson Welters over proposed energy projects worth US$5.7 billion with Saudi Arabian state company SABIC.

Speaking at the post-Cabinet press conference at the Diplomatic Centre, St Ann’s, Ramnarine confirmed a report Wilkinson Welters wrote to him expressing concerns about the project.

He did not give details of the concerns raised, saying private companies were involved but he assured the permanent secretary in his ministry responded to the Ambassador. Ramnarine said the evaluation process was transparent and above board.

He said following the submission of bids, the evaluation committee provided the ministry with a report in December 2011 which was taken to Cabinet in January.

The evaluation committee recommended RFPs from SABIC and Chinese company Sinopec (for another project) which Cabinet accepted and authorised the ministry along with the National Gas Company (NGC) and the National Energy Corporation (NEC) to enter into negotiations with the consortium.

The projects—a methanol to petrochemicals and methanol to olefins—will see billions of dollars in foreign direct investment and requires 2,000 hectares of land available north of the Point Lisas Industrial Estate, Ramnarine told the Express.

He said at peak construction it will generate some 10,000 jobs in the industry. Ramnarine added this project will see the diversification of the energy sector into downstream industries.

He also announced Cabinet considered the US$300 million Eastern Caribbean Gas Pipeline project to which Government reaffirmed its support.

This project will, by and large, be privately funded, said Ramnarine, adding that 30 million standard cubic feet of gas per day will be utilised.

This amounts to less than one per cent of what is produced daily in the country.

He said the pipeline project which will run under 188 miles of seabed and begin from Tobago to Barbados is an historic one which will start in 2013 and is expected to be completed in 2015.

Caricom neighbours who are facing tremendous strain because of rising oil prices will benefit from this initiative which will provide security for Caricom in the 21st century, he said.

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