Trinidad economy threatened by rise of US shale says analyst

PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad, Thursday, January 7, 2013 – Trinidad and Tobago’s oil and natural gas resources has made it one of the economic powerhouses of the Caribbean, but a recent analysis in Petroleum Export suggests that the twin island republic’s economic security could be under threat from one of its major export markets. 

According to writer Justin Jacobs, the Caribbean producer could suffer more than most other energy producers with the rise of shale output by the United States. 

Jacob writes that the surge in US shale-gas production, a wave of new liquefied natural gas (LNG) export projects around the world and major gas discoveries offshore east Africa and elsewhere have ushered in a new era for the gas sector, which he suggests threatens to undermine the security of Trinidad and Tobago’s markets.

“While it has adapted in the short term, to secure its place in the new-look global gas market, Trinidad and Tobago must develop a new, long-term strategy,” Jacobs reports.

“Trinidad and Tobago’s economy is powered by natural gas. The industry accounts for about half the country’s GDP, generates nearly two-thirds of the government’s revenues, attracts most of its foreign investment and lines the sovereign wealth fund. The country’s decision to export its gas has served it well, making it one of the wealthiest nations in the Caribbean. 

“But, the assumptions upon which Trinidad and Tobago’s industry were based no longer apply, forcing the country to rethink its energy strategy to ensure its future,” writes Jacobs.

Along with the United States, Trinidad and Tobago supplies markets in the Caribbean, South America, Asia and Europe with LNG and accounts for approximately 8% of the world’s LNG production.  Click here to receive free news bulletins via email from Caribbean360. (View sample)