BVC March, 2016 - page 41

Business View Caribbean - March 2016 41
ergy Conference. What are you expectations for this
year’s convocation?
“What we saw in 2015 was that despite the low com-
modity-price environment, the levels of investment
in Trinidad in the oil and gas sector maintained at a
fairly high level. There’s quite a lot of activity going
on in terms of upstream drilling, and in terms of new
facilities construction. And that is actually continuing
through this year. So, in 2016, there’s still quite a lot
of activity going on offshore in the upstream gas sec-
tor, which should be good news for the economy. The
big story is the deep-water exploration program which
BHP has and it looks very promising in terms of a major
oil find. (BHP Billiton Petroleum is an Anglo-Australian
multinational mining, metals and petroleum company
headquartered in Melbourne, Australia.) Obviously
that doesn’t solve any of the short-term problems, but
it gives you a longer-term positive for the oil and gas
industry, five or six years away.”
Vincent Pereira, the Energy Chamber’s Chairman,
recently said, when speaking about the oil and gas
sector: “This is not a sunset industry.” In the long
run, though, isn’t the hydrocarbon sector in Trinidad
and Tobago, if not the entire world, in some sense, a
sunset industry? Scientists tell us that if we keep on
taking what’s out of the ground and burning it, we’re
headed in the wrong direction.
“I think it depends on what time you’re looking at in
terms of the ‘long run.’ The world is still going to be
very reliant on fossil fuels for many, many decades. All
the projections show that. There’s a growing demand
for energy around the world and, notwithstanding the
threats of climate change and global warming, that
desire for energy exists. And the fossil fuel industry is
going to go on supplying a significant portion of that
for many years to come. I think that the gas industry
is in an interesting position as the least carbon-inten-
sive of the three fossil fuels, so I think that creates a
particular opportunity for Trinidad, being a gas-based
economy. Also, I should point out that gas is also the
feedstock which goes into a number of many vital pet-
rochemicals for which there are no alternatives that
really exist at the moment. Many plastics come from
petrochemicals and fertilizers come from natural gas.
So, with the world’s growing population needing more
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