TTEITI and British High Commission to Promote “Strengthening CARICOM Energy Collaboration” in Regional Symposium

In the past decade, the global energy sector has had several tremors. The United States’ shale revolution has led to a global glut of oil and gas causing a sharp decline in energy commodity prices.   This development has had significant ramifications for the entire Caricom Region and, as the region’s leading energy exporter, Trinidad and Tobago has also been impacted severely. For over a decade, the country’s oil and gas production has waned, leaving deep negative imprints on the economy.  

With Trinidad and Tobago currently positioned as the region’s energy sector hub, the way these challenges are handled can be instructive to our Caricom regional counterparts with existing extractive industries and those on the cusps of major extractive sector developments, can learn from the Trinidad and Tobago experience and through increased cooperation, strengthen Caricom energy collaboration.

This trend of thought influenced the Trinidad and Tobago Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (TTEITI) in partnership with the British High Commission, to adopt the theme, “Strengthening Caricom Energy Collaboration” for its upcoming Prosperity Fund Regional Symposium. The Symposium is being held to conclude a Regional Capacity Building Workshop series which was held in Barbados on September 12 and Jamaica on December 14. These workshops were held to highlight best practices in natural resource management and increase awareness of the benefits of EITI implementation in these countries.

The need for Caricom energy collaboration was reiterated by Barbados’ Minister of Energy, Senator the Honourable Darcy Boyce during his address to participants at the TTEITI’s Barbados leg of the Regional Capacity Building Workshop in September 2017. Minister Boyce suggested that “a joint CARICOM working group to standardize issues related to licence and contract drafting, environmental regulation, local content provisions and other key energy issues” should be developed. The symposium will address cross border cooperation on key extractive sector issues. 

A major highlight of the symposium will be a Ministerial Panel with Government Ministers from across the region, who will share their country’s perspectives on the topic “Caricom integrated hydrocarbon exploration strategies”. The panel will feature Trinidad and Tobago’s Minister of Energy and Energy Industries, Franklin Khan, Barbados’ Energy Minister Senator Darcy Boyce and Suriname’s Natural Resources Minister Regilio Dodson. Additionally, the symposium will feature interactive presentations from industry experts with decades of experience who will discuss key issues such as revenue allocation and collection strategies, contract transparency and negotiations as well as environmental compliance.

Minister in the Ministry of Finance- Allyson West, Minister West will be presenting on “Improving hydrocarbon revenue collection” and discuss practical ways to plug existing revenue leakages due to tax evasion and avoidance. Former Energy Minister, Conrad Enill will also be sharing his perspective on “Extractive sectors and environmental compliance”and will focus on the gaps in environmental management in Trinidad and Tobago while addressing the challenges encountered by the regulatory bodies in monitoring company compliance with environmental rules and the challenges in making this information available to the public. While Energy Industry Expert, Professor Andrew Jupiter will discuss strategies to “Maximize hydrocarbon value through contract negotiation”. Professor Jupiter will discuss approaches on maximizing value from T&T’s gas, given global developments and ongoing gas contract negotiations between government and companies.

The development of inclusive revenue allocation strategies is another topic on the event’s agenda and will be discussed in depth by Energy and Strategy Consultant, Gregory McGuire. He will provide insight into approaches that can help guide the government to better prioritize how it spends using practical examples. While Senior State Counsel in Trinidad’s Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries, Louise Poy Wing, will provide insight on the exploration of contract transparency. She will provide a breakdown of the terms in the model PSC and quarrying licences and discussing the possibility of disclosing to the public any aspects of confidential information, without posing a threat to the parties involved, given the current legislative barriers.

The Symposium will also provide a platform for tripartite discussions, where members from civil society, government and extractive companies will discuss during a questions and answers session, issues relating to the country and region’s extractive sector. The TTEITI Regional Symposium 2018 will be held at the Marriott Hotel in Port-of-Spain Trinidad on Monday, March 26 and will be attended by representatives of Government, the diplomatic corps, extractive company representatives and civil society groups.

To learn more about the TTEITI’s Regional Symposium 2018, please feel free to contact tteitiproject@gmail.com or visit our facebook and linkedin page @TTEITI for further details.