Lee to Young: Explain $2b T&T NGC loss
UNC chairman, Pointe a Pierre MP David Lee at the party's virtual rally on Sunday
By Rhianna Mc Kenzie / TT Newsday
Petroleumworld 12 17 20
UNC chairman Pointe-a-Pierre MP David Lee wants Energy Minister Stuart Young to explain why the National Gas Company (NGC) made a loss of $2 billion.
Speaking at the party's virtual rally on Sunday, Lee said, “The (minister) likes to tell the population that the Opposition doesn’t know anything about energy, and it isn’t patriotic.
“I want to ask him, if he knew so much about energy and patriotism, why did he allow NGC to waste $240 million on Atlantic train one? Why did NGC, for the first time in its history, make a loss of $2 billion under this Government?
“They like to talk about the UNC raiding NGC, but we built roads and schools. What do (Minister of Energy) Stuart Young and (NGC president) Mark Loquan have to show for the $240 million wasted by the NGC?...Nothing.”
He said the money could have gone to put beds in hospitals to fight the current spike in covid19 cases.
“It is bewildering how this Minister of Energy is still in his job and Loquan is still the president of NGC when they knew fully well that there was no gas for train one. Twice, energy companies told this Government there was no gas for train one.
“Today, no matter how they spin it, Atlantic train one is dead. Come next year March, or come next week, the writing is on the wall: this Government has caused the death of train one.”
Lee said after Young's return from his trip to Texas last week, when the minister met with EOG head executives at the World Petroleum Conference, he became scared for the “possible horrors that could affect an energy sector.”
He said the sector was already in bad shape when Young and the Prime Minister visited Houston.
“It was the Houston negotiations of this minister and the Prime Minister that brought a multi-billion-dollar sector to its knees. It was their negotiations which caused the most-ever plant closures and plant shutdowns in our history, jeopardising thousands of jobs.”
He said Young could not boast about a hydrocarbon economy when the Government has plunged the nation to the lowest level of oil and gas production.
“Every year, they tell us more gas coming, yet each year we produce less gas. Gas production has become so bad that last month reports suggested that the Minister of Finance inflated the gas figure in his budget.
“Imagine, the PNM has more seats in the THA than years of growth in the energy sector after six years. Year after year, this nation's major sector has declined.
"Yet like a stuck record the Minister of Energy is trying to give us false hope with his repeated promises of fiscal incentives. Minister, those incentives are like Santa Claus: each year we hear about them but never see them.”
He said the People’s Partnership, in only five years, was able to deliver some of the best incentives.
“Shamefully, after six years when this Government knew they needed to incentivise oil and gas production, this minister said his Government was still listening to come up with incentives. After six years you are still listening?"
He said the UNC had no faith in the promised bid rounds, as the Government failed in 2018. “How will you attract bids with no incentives? We needed those bid rounds since 2017, yet for five years this Government failed on its promises.
“Today I tell the nation, do not be fooled by those gas projections Minister Young is parading. Those are just PR stunts to hide their failures in the energy sector. Major projects like Calypso and Manatee will not come onstream for many years.”
Also speaking at the rally was Opposition Senator Anil Roberts, who applauded the Progressive Democratic Patriots (PDP) defeat of the PNM in the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) elections last week.
“Tobago has shown the way,” he said. “Tobago has removed the blinders (and) rejected race politics. They dug up (Dr) Rowley’s navel string and pelt it in the Atlantic...That must (happen) in Trinidad. Politics of race must be gone from Trinidad and Tobago.
“Your own dog bite you,” he said.