Trinidad Spending Millions to Develop Natural Gas Pipeline with Tobago

BBC Monitoring via Comtex

Trinidad says a proposal for the development of a natural gas pipeline between Port of Spain and Barbados remains on the table, even as it presses ahead with plans to spend US $155m dollars to construct a gas link with its sister island Tobago.

Spokesman for the National Gas Company (NGC) Arnold De Four expects that the Tobago pipeline will be up and running by the first quarter of 2011.

However, the NGC Vice President for Commercial Services said Trinidad was currently awaiting word from the David Thompson administration in Barbados on the proposal to extend the pipeline to service the needs of Bridgetown.

He said of concern to the Barbados government was the financial viability of the project. The comments came during a tour of the Point Lisas plant, in central Trinidad, on Thursday by a group of regional journalists attending a Commonwealth Caribbean Business Media Workshop.

The local energy sector currently accounts for over 40% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) but is only responsible for between three to five percent of employment in Trinidad and Tobago.

With the onset of the global crisis, the country is forecasting a decrease in revenues and an impact on employment.

De Four could not provide specific numbers on the impact on the energy sector in the twin island republic, which up until last year remained the world's leading exporter of ammonia and methanol and the seventh largest supplier of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) in the world.

In the case of LNG, the supply figure was 14.8m mtpu for a country which produces 667, 000 barrels of oil per day compared to five million tones of ammonia per day.