Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley met with officials within the United States Government in Washington DC on Monday to discuss T&T’s energy security and the potential effects of same on Caricom and the wider Americas.
In a release from the office of the Prime Minister yesterday, it was confirmed that Prime Minister Rowley met with Special Presidential Adviser for the Americas, former US Senator, Chris Dodd at the White House, Eisenhower Executive Office Building, Washington, DC.
Minister of Energy and Energy Industries Stuart Young was also a part of the meeting which also featured Amos Hochstein, State Department Senior Adviser for Energy Security, Juan Gonzalez, special assistant to the President and NSC Senior Director for the Western Hemisphere and Eric Jacobson, Office of Vice President were also present at the meeting.
According to the release, the parties agreed to continue working together to secure energy stability for the region.
On January 24, the US Treasury Department granted a licence to T&T to develop the Dragon natural gas field, which is located in Venezuelan territorial waters. It is estimated that the Dragon field has reserves of 4.2 trillion cubic feet (TCF).
Speaking at a news conference at the Diplomatic Centre in Port-of-Spain on the day of the announcement, the Prime Minister said: “The US Government has today approved T&T’s development of the Dragon field via an OFAC Waiver from sanctions with specific terms to be finalised.
“What this means is that the restrictions on the Dragon gas field development is now relieved and all relevant parties can progress the plans to result in natural gas from Venezuela eventually flowing from these proven reserves to T&T then onto Caribbean, European and other markets, bringing much humanitarian benefits to the Venezuelan population and greater energy security to the Caribbean region.”
At the news conference, Rowley expanded on the connection between the exploitation of the natural gas in the Dragon field and regional energy security.
“Energy security for the region at this time relates not only to our country but is of keen interest to Jamaica, Dominican Republic who currently use LNG but also other territories like Barbados and Grenada where exploration is underway and Guyana and Suriname where gas reserves have been discovered. T&T’s access to natural gas and the use of LNG and petrochemical industry in Trinidad will benefit Caricom and Cariforum nations,” Dr Rowley said.
The licence was issued following intense lobbying by Young and is intended to enhance Caribbean regional energy security
“This decision is the result of extensive diplomacy between Vice President Kamala Harris and Caribbean leaders, who have made it clear that granting this specific license would help ensure their energy security and decrease the region’s reliance on energy resources from other countries, including Russia,” an official of the Biden administration told the Reuters news agency in January.
Referring to a call that US vice president Kamala Harris made to Rowley on the day of the announcement, the US administration said, “The vice president conveyed to the Prime Minister that the Treasury Department would take action to help meet the region’s long-term energy needs.”
Young has made two visits to Caracas since the granting of the licence.