Trinidad and Tobago energy minister outlines LNG export changes

Trinidad and Tobago, a major LNG exporter in the Western Hemisphere, is changing its emphasis from spot sales to large Atlantic Basin customers to contracts with Caribbean and South American nations eager to move to gas from imported diesel and fuel oil for electricity generation, the country’s energy minister said.

“We like to think of ourselves as the Atlantic Basin’s LNG pioneer,” Kevin C. Ramnarine told an American Gas Association Natural Gas Roundtable breakfast. “But there’s no escaping the possibility that the United States, with its considerable shale gas resources, could become the region’s LNG export leader if it decides to.”

He noted that as recently as 3 years ago, 80% of Trinidad’s LNG cargoes went to US customers and the other 20% elsewhere. “That has flipped because of this country’s shale gas revolution, and we expect US demand for our LNG to eventually fall to zero,” Ramnarine said.

“At present, 15% of our cargoes go to the East—mainly China, Japan, and Korea,” he continued, adding that a much larger portion goes to South American customers. “Many countries’ balance of payments problems are due in part to their using higher-cost imported diesel and fuel oil to generate electricity,” he said.

Centrica PLC, the corporate parent of the privatized British Gas, has won the Trinidad and Tobago government’s approval to develop a front stream export project which would ship compressed natural gas in medium-sized tankers to Caribbean customers instead of LNG in larger vessels because natural gas conversion costs for CNG are lower, Ramnarine said.

Barbados pipeline

Barbados also has expressed interest in a gas pipeline from Trinidad, although it would have to be privately financed, he added.

Ramnarine said a major goal is widening the Panama Canal’s locks so LNG tankers can cross the isthmus. “That way, shipments could move east-to-west or west-to-east as needed,” he explained. “It would truly make LNG markets global.”

He predicted that gas prices overseas would remain tied to crude oil because production costs will inevitably climb as more gas is produced from unconventional formations. “We’ll have to wait to see what happens if the US becomes a major exporter,” Ramnarine said. “That wouldn’t happen for at least 3-4 years.”

He said gas is poised to become the fuel of the 21st century, just as oil was the fuel of 20th century and coal the fuel of the 19th century.

We are living in a golden age of gas, and the US is poised to become a major exporter, along with our country and Bolivia,” he indicated. “Its contribution could be even greater because its tight gas resources haven’t been fully defined.”

Ramnarine was in Washington for the Global Gas Council’s inaugural meeting Oct. 24-25 at the Organization of American States.

Contact Nick Snow at

Related Articles

API to issue recommended practice to address pipeline safety

07/01/2015 The American Petroleum Institute expects to issue a new recommended practice in another few weeks that addresses pipeline safety issues, but the tr...

Shell Midstream Partners takes interest in Poseidon oil pipeline

07/01/2015 Shell Midstream Partners LP has completed its acquisition of 36% equity interest in Poseidon Oil Pipeline Co. LLC from Equilon Enterprises LLC, a s...

Shell makes FID on Appomattox deepwater development in Gulf of Mexico

07/01/2015 Royal Dutch Shell PLC has taken a final investment decision (FID) on the Appomattox deepwater development, authorizing construction and installatio...

MARKET WATCH: Oil prices decline as US crude inventories post first gain in 9 weeks

07/01/2015 Oil prices on July 1 surrendered much of their gains from the day before after the release of a government report showing the first rise in US crud...

Woodside-led Browse FLNG venture enters FEED phase

07/01/2015 The Woodside Petroleum Ltd.-led Browse LNG joint venture has entered the front-end engineering and design phase for a floating LNG (FLNG) developme...

FWS issues Shell letter of authorization on Chukchi Sea lease

07/01/2015 The US Fish & Wildlife Service issued Shell Gulf of Mexico Inc. a letter of authorization (LOA) related to the potential disturbance of polar b...

USGS: Water usage for fracturing varies widely across shale plays

07/01/2015 The volume of water required to hydraulically fracture wells varies widely across the country, according to the first national analysis and map of ...

Case for Keystone XL has grown stronger, TransCanada tells Kerry

06/30/2015 Canada is taking strong steps toward combating climate change, and the proposed Keystone XL pipeline crude oil pipeline remains in the US national ...

Forum extends study of subsea integrity


Work by an industry forum called SURF IM Network, which studies oil and gas subsea integrity management, has been extended by 3 years.

White Papers

UAS Integration for Infrastructure: More than Just Flying

Oil and gas companies recognize the benefits that the use of drones or unmanned aerial systems (UAS) c...

Solutions to Financial Distress Resulting from a Weak Oil and Gas Price Environment

The oil and gas industry is in the midst of a prolonged worldwide downturn in commodity prices. While ...
Sponsored by

2015 Global Engineering Information Management Solutions Competitive Strategy Innovation and Leadership Award

The Frost & Sullivan Best Practices Awards recognise companies in a variety of regional and global...
Sponsored by

Three Tips to Improve Safety in the Oil Field

Working oil fields will always be tough work with inherent risks. There’s no getting around that. Ther...
Sponsored by

Pipeline Integrity: Best Practices to Prevent, Detect, and Mitigate Commodity Releases

Commodity releases can have catastrophic consequences, so ensuring pipeline integrity is crucial for p...
Sponsored by

AVEVA’s Digital Asset Approach - Defining a new era of collaboration in capital projects and asset operations

There is constant, intensive change in the capital projects and asset life cycle management. New chall...
Sponsored by

Transforming the Oil and Gas Industry with EPPM

With budgets in the billions, timelines spanning years, and life cycles extending over decades, oil an...
Sponsored by

Asset Decommissioning in Oil & Gas: Transforming Business

Asset intensive organizations like Oil and Gas have their own industry specific challenges when it com...
Sponsored by
Available Webcasts

Operating a Sustainable Oil & Gas Supply Chain in North America

When Tue, Oct 20, 2015

Short lead times and unpredictable conditions in the Oil & Gas industry can create costly challenges in supply chains. By implementing a LEAN culture of continuous improvement you can eliminate waste, increase productivity and gain end-to-end visibility leading to a sustainable and well-oiled supply chain.

Please join us for this webcast sponsored by Ryder System, Inc.


On Demand

Leveraging technology to improve safety & reliability

Tue, Sep 22, 2015

Attend this informative webinar to learn more about how to leverage technology to meet the new OSHA standards and protect your employees from the hazards of arc flash explosions.


The Resilient Oilfield in the Internet of Things World

Tue, Sep 22, 2015

As we hear about the hype surrounding the Internet of Things, the oil and gas industry is questioning what is different than what is already being done. What is new?  Using sensors and connecting devices is nothing new to our mode of business and in many ways the industry exemplifies many principles of an industrial internet of things. How does the Internet of Things impact the oil and gas industry?

Prolific instrumentation and automation digitized the industry and has changed the approach to business models calling for a systems led approach.  Resilient Systems have the ability to adapt to changing circumstances while maintaining their central purpose.  A resilient system, such as Maximo, allows an asset intensive organization to leverage connected devices by merging real-time asset information with other critical asset information and using that information to create a more agile organization.  

Join this webcast, sponsored by IBM, to learn how about Internet of Things capabilities and resilient systems are impacting the landscape of the oil and gas industry.


Taking the Headache out of Fuel License and Exemption Certificates: How to Ensure Compliance

Tue, Aug 25, 2015

This webinar, brought to you by Avalara, will detail the challenges of tax document management, as well as recommend solutions for fuel suppliers. You will learn:

-    Why it’s critical to track business partner licenses and exemption documents
-    The four key business challenges of ensuring tax compliance through document management
-    Best practice business processes to minimize exposure to tax errors


Emerson Micro Motion Videos

Careers at TOTAL

Careers at TOTAL - Videos

More than 600 job openings are now online, watch videos and learn more!


Click Here to Watch

Other Oil & Gas Industry Jobs

Search More Job Listings >>
Stay Connected