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Update expected on oil and gas

PM Dickon Mitchell – gathering information on the oil and gas agreement with GPG

Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell has promised to shortly update Grenadians on the issue of the island’s oil and gas resources that have apparently been tied up with a Russian outfit known as Global Petroleum Group (GPG) for years following a multi-million dollar deal signed with the former Keith Mitchell-led New National Party (NNP) administration.

In an interview with THE NEW TODAY, the Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell said: “We are still in the process of making sure that we gather a complete picture of what has happened historically, where we are and then to make a determination as to how we proceed in the future. I anticipate that in the next 30 days or so we will be in a better position to speak on this issue.”

According to the Prime Minister, he had approached the Russians for documentation on the deal that was struck with the former leaders but they were not co-operating fully.

However, he said he was able to obtain some information elsewhere in order to put him in a position to get a look into the Russian oil and gas deal with the former NNP regime.

“I haven’t received it (the information) directly from them. We are putting together as much information as is possible. We have also been speaking with our colleagues in Trinidad & Tobago to get from them what information they have – once we get that we will be in a better position to come to the public and let the public know exactly what we found, what the state of play is and how the government intends to move forward,” he added.

In 2018, GPG is known to have signed an agreement with the National Gas Company of Trinidad & Tobago to help tap into the gas reserves that are believed to be in deep waters offshore Grenada.

There has been no further announcement from the Russians or the Trinidadians on whether any gas has been sold to Port-of-Spain.

Three days before the 2018 general election, the then Grenada Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell informed the nation at a public rally of the NNP that the island was on the verge of obtaining millions from the discovery of promising oil wells due to the work of GPG.

Less than 5 years later, Dr. Mitchell disclosed that the prospects for monetary gains from oil were virtually dead due to falling prices on the world oil market.

The GPG deal has always been shrouded in controversy and the 2008-13 Congress government of Tillman Thomas had launched an investigation with the help of the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) following the discovery of a letter in which a senior member of the NNP regime had allegedly collected EC$1.3 million dollars from the Russians.

THE NEW TODAY was told that former Trinidad & Tobago Attorney General, the late Karl Hudson-Phillip who reviewed the files gave the go-ahead for criminal charges to be pressed on the former NNP official.

The FIU had made arrangements to detain the ex-government official at the St Paul’s Police station, as well as prepared a series of questions to put before him as part of the process leading up to the formal laying of charges but it was aborted with no explanation given.

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Following is a release issued by the National Gas Company of Trinidad & Tobago on the agreement signed with the Russian oilmen:

‘NGC is pleased to announce that the Company has finalised a commercial agreement with Global Petroleum Group (GPG) operating in Grenada.

This agreement marks a major development in the collaboration and energy cooperation among CARICOM countries, and is an important pillar in growing and strengthening the region’s economies.

The relationship between the two companies is a result of the Energy Sector Development Framework Agreement signed between the Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago (GORTT) and the Government of Grenada.

GPG is an oil and gas company currently undertaking exploration and appraisal activities off the south coast of Grenada, near the Patao/Dragon fields in Venezuela and North Coast Marine Area (NCMA) fields in Trinidad.

NGC Chairman, Gerry C. Brooks indicated that with the support of the Government of Trinidad and Tobago (GORTT), NGC will continue to work closely with GPG and the Government of Grenada as the project progresses.

Mr. Brooks articulated his optimism that the framework agreement between the two governments will foster a partnership of mutual benefit and growth opportunities for both countries.

The agreement signals NGC’s unwavering resolve to meet the challenge of gas supply in Trinidad and Tobago by providing a ready market for the sale of natural gas and natural gas liquids (NGLs).

To effectively monetise any gas reserves in the fastest possible time, NGC will utilise existing domestic infrastructure as well as leverage our four decades of experience and technical proficiency in pipeline construction and natural gas transportation.

In the fulfilment of our mandate to be ‘the prime mover in gas-based development’, NGC has forged strong linkages, both upstream and downstream, and established energy partnerships in foreign jurisdictions.

The company has facilitated numerous early business development projects which have shaped the local natural gas landscape.

It is these capabilities and expertise which NGC will utilize to assist GPG in developing Grenada’s natural gas-based energy sector.

NGC President, Mark Loquan, indicated that the agreement reasserts NGC’s commitment to remain steadfast in its duty to enhance Trinidad and Tobago’s gas supply and work towards alleviating the current term of gas curtailment.

By seeking opportunities beyond our shores to secure new sources of gas molecules including across-border reserves, NGC will maintain its robust business model as the natural gas aggregator in the local energy sector.

Mr. Loquan noted that NGC and GPG will continue joint studies to determine the best fit to provide natural gas-based fuel to meet Grenada’s domestic gas requirements as well as any other areas of mutual benefit relative to the energy sector in the region.

The NGC President stressed that NGC takes its role as the sole aggregator of natural gas seriously and we will continue to seek to maximize value and resources for sustainable national development and long-term prosperity.’

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