Trinidad and Tobago is a middle income country. It has the second highest GDP per capita income in the region after The Bahamas (over USD 20,000) and a ranking of 67 out of 186 countries in the UNDP Human Development Index.
The economy is driven by natural gas which powers various industries as well as natural gas and petro-chemical exports. While progress has been financed by the income generated by these natural resources, investment opportunities to diversify the non-energy sector are being developed in a number of areas.
The Energy sector in Trinidad and Tobago comprises activities related to:
- Crude oil production
- Natural gas production
- Natural gas utilization
- Production of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG)
- Natural Asphalt production
- Petro chemicals
- Renewable and alternative energy
- Compressed natural gas (CNG)
- Electric Power
- Ports and Industrial Estate
Trinidad and Tobago has been involved in the petroleum exploration for over one hundred years initially with a focus on oil exploration. However, the sector is now predominantly focused on natural gas since the early 1990s. Proven crude oil reserves in 2013 were estimated at, 728 million barrels and 3P natural gas reserves were 25.24 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) according to the Ryder Scott Audit 2012.
The Ministry of Energy and Energy Affairs oversees policy, legislative reform, incentives and many projects of interest in this sector. Summary information is provided below. For full details, please refer to: http://www.energy.gov.tt/.
NEW NATURAL GAS PRODUCTION
Venezuela and Trinidad and Tobago have signed an agreement to develop natural gas reserves on their maritime border (Loran Manatee field). The "unitization of reserves" accord gives Venezuela 7.3 trillion cubic feet (TCF) and Trinidad 2.7 TCF of the Loran-Manatee field, which is estimated to hold 10 TCF.
NATURAL GAS UTILISATION
In addition to LNG, natural gas is used as feedstock for a variety of processes such as petrochemical manufacturing and metals refining, and as fuel for both heavy industries and electricity generation.
Both foreign and local private sector participation is encouraged as an essential part of the strategy to monetize the country’s petroleum resources. Examples of existing operations are as follows:
- One (1) Natural Gas Liquids Processing Facility
- Four (4) LNG Trains
- Ten (10) Ammonia Plants (not including the AUM Ammonia plant)
- One (1) AUM ( Ammonia -Urea Ammonium Nitrate -Melamine) Complex
- Seven (7) Methanol Plants
- Urea Plant (not including the AUM Urea plant)
- 4 DRI Modules
- 6 Power Generation sites
- Over 120 light industrial and commercial customers of gas.
The Government of Trinidad and Tobago is currently developing a national energy policy green paper that recognizes renewable energy’s (RE) combined with energy efficiency (EE) and utilization of compressed natural gas in the transportation sector, inter-alia, as important strategies for the promotion of sustainable development of the nation.
Apart from legislative reform, fiscal incentives, training and awareness initiatives, Government plans to encourage renewable energy by leading by example: RE installations in government buildings including hospitals, medical clinics and schools.
COMPRESSED NATURAL GAS (CNG)
The aim is to get at least 20% of vehicles using CNG. High mileage vehicles will be targeted for conversions e.g. maxi taxis, taxis, buses, commercial vehicles, GORTT and state vehicles and the critical infrastructure (fuelling stations, conversion centres, and fiscal incentives) will be developed.
Four ports are in development:
- Point Lisas South: expansion of the exiting port facilities
- Cap-de-Ville: a multi-user Industrial port
- Galeota: This port will provide rig repair, cement, pipe and platform services as well as facilities for the fishing sector. There will also be an additional berth to be utilized by the Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard for the provision of maritime security for cargo entering and exiting the facility
- Brighton : The port will be promoted as a modern multi-user, general purpose port designed to provide facilities for the handling of liquid cargo (petrochemicals), break-bulk and bulk solid cargo and limited containerised cargo (using cranes).
AGRICULTURE AND AGROPROCESSING
With food prices contributing significantly to inflation, agriculture has received a new emphasis for investment promotion. Investment in agriculture should emphasize the use of modern systems and technology that is less dependent on labour as labour availability in Trinidad and Tobago for farming is a challenge. Emphasis is also needed on training and development in good agricultural practices and integrated pest management.
Investment opportunities are being promoted in:
- cocoa for export and local, artisan chocolate manufacturing
- coconut and citrus for local raw materials for manufacturing, local consumption and export
- honey production
- goat and sheep farming including dairy goats
- dairy/cattle industry in general
For more detail, please refer to:
FINANCIAL SERVICES AND SHARED-SUPPORT SERVICES INDUSTRY:
The Government of Trinidad and Tobago has developed the Financial Institutions Support Services (FINeSS), an industry programme to implement special incentives to support middle and back-office processing for financial institutions and their Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) providers. In 2013, Government commenced discussions with companies providing services within the European Union to facilitate the movement of -shared services facilities to Trinidad and Tobago. Additionally, during 2013, RBC Royal Bank and Scotiabank Trinidad and Tobago expanded their shared services operations in Trinidad and Tobago.
Infrastructure to support shared services includes:
- Large base of certified accountants, ICT professionals and tertiary institutions to support human resources needs
- Five under-sea fibre cables feeding Trinidad and Tobago
- Fujitsu’s 87 rack, tier-3 data centre in Barataria, Trinidad
- Columbus Communications 90,000 square foot tier-3 data centre currently being built as well as additional fibre project to create multiple-link redundancy and points of entry to the island.
Development of this sector is targeted at the north-west peninsula of the island of Trinidad (Chaguaramas). There already exist marine services activities which include services for both leisure craft and industrial and commercial vessels. Marine services in the area include marinas, leisure boat building and maintenance services and supplies, charter boats for cruising and fishing, dry docking services for industrial and commercial vessels and supply services for the oil and gas sector. New focus of investment promotion will be will be initially on niche markets such as the construction of tugs, workboats, small luxury craft, platform supply vessels, launches and barges. The requirements for maintaining the range of naval and maritime assets owned by the Government of Trinidad and Tobago would also represent a catalyst for promoting investment and industry in this sector.
There is emphasis on building overpasses and expanding highway systems to address the heavy traffic problems especially on the island of Trinidad.
In respect of sea transportation, plans are being formulated for developing lucrative service routes under the Water Taxi from POS to Venezuela and Grenada under a charter arrangement.
Government is building the capacity under the Ministry of Finance and Economy with the support of IADB and World Bank experts for public private partnership as a strategy for implementing public projects.
The IDB under the PSIP will advance two projects (20 Primary Schools and Early Childhood Care Centres (under the Ministry of Education) and a number of Diagnostic Centres (under the Ministry of Health) and have undertaken to spearhead the process for the selection and award of a contract to a transaction advisory service provider through a competitive and transparent bidding process, within the next 12 months. Additionally, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) will spearhead work on the airport concession for the Piarco International Airport.