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bpTT needs to reconsider building Angeline offshore oil platform locally -TT Government

“We continue to ask of them as part of our policy that they use T&T facilities and fabrication yards and workers as their first preference. So it's not to say we in Government are sitting down.” -
acting Prime Minister Colm Imbert

Petroleumworld 04 10 2017

Government will continue pressing bpTT to reconsider its decision not to fabricate the Angelin platform locally, acting Prime Minister Colm Imbert said yesterday.

“We're not sitting down (on this),” Imbert added, at yesterday's weekly post-Cabinet news conference.

He said Government will continue asking BP - as part of Government policy — to use local facilities as their first preference. “So we're not going to leave that just like that.”

On Wednesday, bpTT issued a statement saying while it remained committed to local content, “given the compressed project timelines and other competitiveness factors for the Angelin project, local fabrication is no longer a feasible option.”

Imbert and Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister Stuart Young addressed bpTT's decision not to have its planned Angelin platform fabricated locally.

Young had accompanied Prime Minister Keith Rowley to Texas last week for meetings with energy companies, including BP. PNM La Brea MP and former Energy Minister Nicole Olivierre says bpTT's decision would affect T&T and cost her area approximately 150 high skilled jobs.

On bpTT's decision, Imbert said: “I want to make a point — we'll continue to request of BP that it uses the facilities in T&T and we'd continue to ask them to reconsider whatever decision they may have made regarding fabricating components for offshore platforms in other countries.”

“We continue to ask of them as part of our policy that they use T&T facilities and fabrication yards and workers as their first preference. So it's not to say we in Government are sitting down.”

“I was told the substantive Prime Minister made this request of BP. I did as acting Energy Minister and I'm sure the Energy Minister also will.”

Young said bpTT's decision wasn't an affront to Government as it wasn't a surprise.

He said the energy company indicated the decision was due to the timing of the sanctioning of the platform. BP spokesmen have insisted that it is crucial that the Angelin platform be completed in early 2019 to supplement gas when the supply from the Juniper platform begins to decline.

“BP had always put on the table the difficulties concerning timing. At the Prime Minister's meeting, they said it would be extremely difficult, if not impossible and they undertook to do future projects with as much local content as possible.” Young added.

“They have new projects coming on stream, which they'll announce in their own time and we're asking that any work be done here, have local content. The PM had indicated in talks with all the oil companies, that we were there on behalf of T&T's people and to attract as much local content as possible.”

Apart from BP's commitment for between US$5 and US$6 billion in investment in T&T over 2017-2023, and seeking jobs for locals, Young said Government also asked for any extra gas to go toward T&T's downstream sector.

BP has completed seismic research and this looks promising for T&T, he added.

“There's much hope on the horizon, a lot of new gas coming on stream from 2019 onwards and extra gas will be made available to us,” Young said.

Other projects — including from Shell — also begin over the next year and Government would want the facilities for their products to be local also.

On whether protests in the energy sector contributed to BP's decision, Imbert said this should be addressed to the OWTU.

Young added, “T&T needs to understand it's in a global environment, competing for capital expenditure with other nations. As a country we need to act responsibly to make it in a competitive environment where we can attract investment and ensure jobs.

“That's the mantra going forward. There's been a number of warnings and red flags and as a country we need to do what we can for T&T.”

On the cost of doing business here, Imbert said T&T has to remain competitive, “If not, these companies will try to minimise their costs by using alternatives.”

Government on Wednesday successfully settled a $250 million claim against NGC from a downstream company, Young added.

This was done amicably, without cost to T&T. He said Government had to deal with the “perfect storm” in the energy sector on entering office, from curtailment issues to expired contracts involving billions in claims. He said a team in the US is addressing other claims.

He said if Government hadn't had meetings with BP on the Angelin project, the latter wouldn't have materialised since “conversations” began before Government entered office, but weren't expedited. Young said BP told the Prime Minister the company appreciated the “rebuilding of relationships at the highest level, and they're here to stay.”

The Prime Minister will speak more about his trip when he returns, Young added. He didn't say when the PM would return but PNM sources recently said he's expected back tomorrow (Saturday). (GA)

Story by Gail Alexander from Trinidad Guardian

guardian.co.tt 04 09 2017

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