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T&T’s Energy Reality Today

The foreign exchange we love to spend in T&T is predominantly derived from the taxes etc that the energy sector pays to the state and the largest single source of foreign exchange is derived from companies involved in the production of gas to LNG and the export of LNG. T&T has been faced since 2010 with falling volumes of natural gas supplied to the sector that utilises gas as feedstock and a glut of LNG on world markets appeared in 2015.

What then is the reality of LNG in 2016? Cheniere Energy at Sabine Pass in the US is presently producing LNG and the first shipment will be delivered to British Gas (BG). Three nuclear reactors shuttered in Japan since Fukushima have either been re-started or will be re-started negatively impacting Asian spot LNG prices which was below 7USD for February 2016 delivery. China and South Korea are not taking up the slack created by Japan’s noted lowering of its LNG purchases and Asian supply continues to expand. Qatar took the decision to protect market share in light of Asian realities for LNG by setting the precedent to drastically change the terms of the 25 year contract between RasGas and Petronet of India by cutting the contract price of its LNG by half and ending the take or pay clause. It is reported that Petronet has already indicated to its Australian suppliers that it wants a similar deal the cascade effect.

Qatar’s move is the equivalent for LNG of the House of Saud’s move in oil markets and it will run through LNG markets as castor oil and send T&T to the latrine. LNG from Asia and the US seeking markets will then end up in Europe and given the willingness to protect market share by any means necessary we can then expect blood letting and further price pressures downward. The gas producers of T&T can then continue to demand a brand new gas structure in T&T and hold out waiting for the government to surrender because politicians have a 5 year vision horizon at best. The last government did nothing hoping for the best and that inaction did not bear fruit. The present government is even more precariously placed and the global actors wait. The gas supply in 2015 actually worsened and the news is not good as the failure of BG’s Starfish project.

The question arises if the fall in LNG production and exports justified by a shortfall in gas feedstock given the nature of the world LNG markets is in keeping with the global strategy of the gas/LNG producers of T&T? Where are our LNG markets today as exports to the US and Spain shrink?The gas/LNG paradigm of T&T is then falsified by the evolution of gas and LNG markets of the world. Such is life deal with it.


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