Trinidad & Tobago energy minister on India visit

Vol 15, PW 5 (08 Sep 11) People & Policy

Trinidad & Tobago is famous for carnivals and calypso music but Indian companies Reliance and GAIL are more attracted by the tiny Caribbean republic’s oil and gas sector.

PETROWATCH hears Trinidadian energy minister Kevin C. Ramnarine plans to visit India for three days from November 17, at the invitation of Reliance and GAIL.

Ramnarine has scheduled meetings with Indian oil minister Jaipal Reddy and GAIL chairman BC Tripathi in Delhi, and with Reliance executives at the company’s Mumbai headquarters and its Jamnagar refinery in Gujarat. Also part of Ramnarine’s delegation will be the chairman of Trinidad’s state-owned oil marketing company National Petroleum, Neil Gosine, and the president of the country’s state-owned explorer Petrotrin, Keneth Allum.

Gosine and Allum will arrive in India on November 15 for ‘preparatory meetings’ before Ramnarine’s arrival. GAIL is hoping this visit will smooth the way for it to source long-term and short-term LNG from Trinidad & Tobago.

GAIL teams have visited Trinidad four times since last November, most recently in June when they submitted a proposal on buying short-term LNG. GAIL believes it can offer Trinidad authorities a better LNG price than the approximately $4/mmbtu to $5/mmbtu they get at present from international companies they deal with.

GAIL also hopes to set up a urea factory in Trinidad provided it can secure gas supplies at a fixed price for a minimum period of 12 years. Reliance, which sent a team of executives to visit Trinidad in July, is interested in the 600m barrels of ‘oil in place’ at ‘tar sands’ lying in the island’s Southern basin.

Reliance wants to set up a $1bn ‘bitumen up-grader’ to convert these tar sands into ‘synthetic oil.’ Delhi-based Indraprastha Gas, a GAIL affiliate, is interested in setting up a retail gas network in Trinidad & Tobago and in laying gas transmission pipelines there.