OFAC granted Trinidad and Tobago a waiver to explore the Dragon natural gas field in Venezuela,

The US Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) granted Trinidad and Tobago a waiver to explore the Dragon natural gas field in Venezuela,

• This was disclosed by Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley during a press conference called at the Diplomatic Centre in St. Ann’s on Tuesday 24th January, 2023, who added that “happy” days are ahead for the country and the Caricom region.

• The US$1 billion deal was signed between TT and Venezuela in August 2018. Those involved included energy giant Shell, Venezuela’s state oil company PDVSA, and TT’s National Gas Company (NGC).

• The Dragon deal would TT developing the field which is estimated to produce approximately 150 million standard cubic feet of gas per day. The gas is supposed to be imported through a billion-dollar pipeline to the Hibiscus platform off the northwest coast of TT. The platform is jointly owned by the TT government, NGC and Shell.

• The deal was left in limbo after the US imposed sanctions on Venezuela in 2019.

• However, at his media conference yesterday, the Prime Minister said he led the charge to sway the US Government’s hand, lobbying not only for TT but for all of Caricom.
Dr Rowley said one of the terms of the waiver was that Caricom is given preferential treatment for greater energy security in the region. Cuba is not to benefit from this waiver as it still remains under sanctions by the US.

• Rowley said that while the terms of the provisional licence are still being hammered out, the highest hurdle of the lifting of the sanctions was crossed. Part of the terms is that Venezuela is not to be paid in cash.

• Asked how this will work, Dr Rowley said that will not be a problem, reminding the population of a time when, because of sanctions, the Venezuelan government asked TT to purchase necessities on its behalf so a similar approach could be made.

• Another term is that the waiver is for two years, eight short of what Rowley was negotiating for. He added though that the option to extend is there and he remains optimistic.

• He described the waiver as a “win-win” all around but could not say when the first financial benefit will hit TT’s coffers adding that the deal is moving “full speed ahead.” The waiver, Rowley said, is also good for the development of the Loran-Manatee gas field, which sits on the TT/Venezuela maritime border.

• “Now that we’ve got the giant step towards exploiting gas from a Venezuelan field across the border, it opens all kinds of possibilities for business between two neighbours. One that has world-class infrastructure like Point Lisas and a neighbour that has a large amount of unproduced natural gas.

• Regarding who will pay for the pipeline from Venezuela to TT, Rowley said those details are to be worked out, adding that TT will not shy away from such an investment as the government sees the benefits of it.

• Rowley also thanked US President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, California Congresswoman Maxine Waters and politicians from both sides of the US political divide.

• He also thanked the prime ministers of Suriname, Chan Santokhi; Bahamas, Philip Edward Davis; Barbados, Mia Mottley; Antigua and Barbuda, Gaston Browne and the President of Guyana Dr. Irfaan Ali for assisting in the push for TT to explore the Dragon field.

Shopping Cart