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TT Govt. to pursue new marine acreage near oil-rich Guyana-Suriname basin-Energy Minister

Energy Chamber

The Hon. Franklin Khan, Minister of Energy and Energy Industries Trinidad and Tobago

By Kiana Wilburg / Kaieteur News

PORT SPAIN 02 07 2019

According to a U.S. Geological Survey report, the Guyana-Suriname basin holds an estimated resource potential of over 13.6 billion barrels of oil equivalent resources. It is ranked second in the world for prospectivity among the world's unexplored basins. These prospects have led to increased international interest and investments.

It appears, however, that ExxonMobil's 80 percent exploration success rate in the Guyana basin has caught the attention of regional states, particularly Trinidad and Tobago. In fact, the Government of Trinidad wants to aggressively pursue the acquisition of new marine acreage near the said basin.

Revealing this plan yesterday was Energy Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, Franklin Khan. He was at the time, delivering his remarks at his country's three day Energy Conference which is being held at the Hyatt Hotel. The event ends today.

There, Khan said that in the long term, the Ministry is excited about the prospect of acquiring new marine territory.

He said, “T&T, as a coastal state, is a signatory to the UN Convention for Law of the Sea. We are currently seeking to delineate the outer limits of our continental shelf, beyond two hundred nautical miles in accordance with Article 76 of the Convention.

The delineation of T&T's continental shelf beyond its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) would put this country in a position to exploit the natural resources to be found on that extended portion of its continental shelf.”

The Energy Minister continued, “We submitted our claims to the Commission in April 2009 and are currently preparing to defend our claim to the UN Sub-Commission when called upon to do so, which we expect could be later this year.

“Our claims to the United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf, if successful, would extend our maritime jurisdiction seawards to the outer edge of our continental margin.”

He added, “This would be a major development as it would extend our boundaries to areas in proximity to the Guyana-Suriname Basin in which major hydrocarbon discoveries have already been made. While the UN Commission approves the claim submitted by each country it does not determine ownership.”

With that in mind, the Energy Minister said that Trinidad and Tobago will, therefore, have to engage in negotiations with Barbados, Guyana, Suriname, and French Guiana to apportion ownership. He said, too, that Trinidad, therefore, has an opportunity to increase its access to potential oil and gas resources.

“However, opportunities are like sunrises, if you wait too long you miss them,” expressed Khan to his attentive audience while noting that Trinidadians can be assured that his Government will “pursue this matter aggressively.”



Story Kiana Wilburg reporting from Trinidad and Tobago from Kaieteur News 02 06 2019

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