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The pursuit of Energy Security and Sustainability – a Caribbean perspective

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On day two of the AIEN International Energy Summit in Miami, Florida, The Hon. Stuart Young, Minister of Energy and Energy Industries and Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister, Trinidad and Tobago, gave the keynote speech, looking at the pursuit of energy security and sustainability from a Caribbean perspective.

“We are a hydrocarbon economy and have in the past four decades developed a sophisticated gas sector that includes the production of Liquified Natural Gas (LNG), Ammonia, Methanol, Urea, UAN.

“Since 2015 to date, we have been navigating the various transitions taking place in the volatile global energy sector whilst protecting our hydrocarbon-based economy during natural declines in our hydrocarbon production. We have had to negotiate with some of the most sophisticated stakeholders who are invested in Trinidad and Tobago, as well as to negotiate with sovereign countries in a geopolitical climate that directly affects small Trinidad and Tobago.

“When my political party won the general elections in Trinidad and Tobago in September 2015 and assumed the government, we unfortunately met a crisis in our energy sector that was unprecedented in our country’s long hydrocarbon history.

“The responsibility fell to us to take the necessary actions to stabilize our hydrocarbon sector which was the most important part of our economy and the provider of the revenue necessary for us to sustain our livelihoods. Nevertheless, the main component of being able to successfully manage the crisis was down to negotiating with sophisticated stakeholders on many different fronts. It was about energy negotiations and building mutually beneficial relationships.

What followed was many months of fierce negotiating and I can report, that by holding to our principles of fair prices and a fair sharing of upside prices, that we used as our principle throughout those negotiations, we were able to secure excellent returns for the citizens of Trinidad and Tobago in 2022 when ammonia and methanol prices reached highs as a result of the Russia/Ukraine conflict. Had we caved into the threats, media pressure, pressure from paid authors being quoted as experts and the pressure of losing investments in our energy sector, we would have conceded those financial returns that the people of Trinidad and Tobago benefitted from, to companies that made billions of dollars in profits.

“Like every responsible hydrocarbon country, we have been taking decisions with respect to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and pursuing new energy projects.

“We recently turned to sod for the commencement of the construction of a solar project that will produce 112.2 MW of power which is 10% of our power needs in Trinidad and Tobago. We are also exploring the use of wind turbines for power generation. These renewables projects would also feed into the recent Cabinet approved construction of our first green hydrogen project, which will be done under the direction of the Ministry of Energy.

“We are actively looking at Carbon Capture Sequestration and Utilization to do our part in carbon reduction but also, if done properly and in a PPP with our petrochemical stakeholders, it could provide them with the opportunity to blue their products thereby keeping them competitive in the changing energy landscape.

“I assure you that Trinidad and Tobago, whilst focusing on evolving and protecting our gas sector, and even ensuring that we extract the last drop of oil to sell, is also ensuring that it pursues the energy transition and has the components of new energy in our mix.”

About AIEN:

The Association of International Energy Negotiators, formerly Association of International Petroleum Negotiators, is an independent not-for-profit professional membership association that supports international energy negotiators around the world enhancing their effectiveness and professionalism in the international energy community. Founded in 1981, AIEN has roughly 2,800 members in more than 110 countries, representing international and national energy companies, governments, law firms and academic institutions.