T&T eyes Chinese energy markets


Discussions on supplying the energy markets of China will be one of the focal points during the visit of China’s President Xi Jinping this weekend, says Energy Minister Kevin Ramnarine.


Speaking at the post-Cabinet news conference at the Office of the Prime Minister, St Clair, yesterday Ramnarine noted that the United States and China were two of the largest consumers of energy in the world.


Ramnarine said that United States Vice-President Joe Biden during his visit to this country earlier this week pointed out that America had shale gas reserves for 100 years and was on the way to becoming self-sufficient.


Ramnarine said 63 per cent of methanol, 85 per cent of ammonia and 39 per cent of outputs from the Pointe-a-Pierre refinery were exported to the US.


Trinidad and Tobago is going through a challenging time and will have to look for new markets for its liquefied natural gas, he said.


Ramnarine said markets were shifting, adding that 35 per cent of LNG went to South America, and Brazil was now becoming a major buyer of methanol.


Energy issues will feature prominently in the discussions during the Chinese President’s visit.


He noted that in 2011 Trinidad and Tobago supplied four cargoes of LNG to China and in 2012 another five cargoes.


It is anticipated these figures will increase, he said.


The Chinese market must be explored, he said, adding that the expansion of the Panama Canal will open up avenues for LNG export.


The price of natural gas in Asia is almost three times what it is in the United States and this offsets the cost of freight, Ramnarine said.


He also disclosed that a draft natural gas policy was in the works and it was being “refined” before he presents it to Cabinet.


Source: Trinidad Express