Viewing entries in
Opinion

Social expenditure in times of declining revenue

Social expenditure in times of declining revenue

At the recent launch of the Trinidad and Tobago Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (TTEITI) Report 2016, perhaps the most anticipated information, apart from whether or not any ‘unexplained discrepancies’ were reported, was the figure for total flows to the Government of Trinidad and Tobago from the reporting companies in the oil and gas sector.  And, even with some knowledge and appreciation of the steady decline in commodity prices coupled with low oil and gas production levels, this figure will still come as a surprise to many.

5 steps for successful rig intake

5 steps for successful rig intake

After a period of dormancy, drilling activity is starting to ramp up. As an operator, you will be looking to take advantage of low rig rates and will ideally be looking for a ‘hot rig’ (i.e. an operational rig), to avoid risk and delay which can occur from contracting nonoperational rigs that require reactivation from a state of warm or cold stacking.

Transforming the T&T Natural Gas Industry: Maximising the Value Chain

Transforming the T&T Natural Gas Industry: Maximising the Value Chain

The Trinidad and Tobago energy sector finds itself at a very critical juncture requiring a mindset to navigate a difficult period to survive the long term. It was in this context that NGC provided its insights at this year’s Energy Conference. The contributions made by sector colleagues have undoubtedly bolstered the theme of “Maximizing Value Through Collaboration”, as the sector leverages synergies and partnerships for a successful 2018 and beyond.

Achieving sustainability through public procurement: A utopian idea?

Achieving sustainability through public procurement: A utopian idea?

It has been three years since The Public Procurement and Disposal of Property Act No. 1 of 2015 was assented to, and July 31, 2018 would make it three years since its partial proclamation. An act intended to, among other things, repeal the Central Tenders Board Act and establish an Office of Procurement Regulation. 

The era of the storms

The era of the storms

Clean energy is a winning issue and Trinidad and Tobago should claim and own it. The wider Caribbean has always had hurricanes due to its geographical bearing, but storm intensity has increased in recent decades due to climate change. Climate change science has clarified the problem with fossil fuel emissions, it has educated people whose lives are being adversely impacted by fossil fuels, and will lead to sustained investment for Caribbean economies, if weaponised.

Stop Faking It: How the Fake Oil Allegations Reinforce the Need for Reform and Vigilance

Stop Faking It: How the Fake Oil Allegations Reinforce the Need for Reform and Vigilance

The recent “fake oil” allegations at Petrotrin has helped propel public discussion on how efficiently the country monitors its oil and gas production. For better or worse, the issue has generated not only salacious stories in the press but actual interest in the existing checks and balances to monitor production. It is clear that the ramifications of lax monitoring can be crippling. In fact, there are billion dollar ramifications if the country does not correctly quantify its energy production, particularly in this current environment of low global oil and gas prices and declining national production.

Re-examining the issue of local content

Re-examining the issue of local content

Local content has been a key issue for the Energy Chamber ever since I joined the organisation thirteen years ago. Unfortunately, it seems be an issue a bit like the elusive “diversification”; something we spend a lot of time talking about but making very little progress towards achieving. 

The Heritage and Stabilisation Fund: Improvements required

The Heritage and Stabilisation Fund: Improvements required

Sovereign wealth funds are relatively new. They have been devised as a defensive measure to address the macroeconomic impact of revenue volatility in resource rich countries. Other objectives include ensuring inter generational equity, addressing future financial needs, and protecting a country’s economy from extraordinary shifts in its fiscal situation. 

Restructuring GATE

Restructuring GATE

It was clear that Government Assistance for Tuition Expenses (GATE) had to be restructured. The existing system was wasteful and much of the value went to families who could have afforded to pay university fees — a typical problem with most subsidies. The increase in both the quantity and quality of the cars driven by students and parked on The University of the West Indies (The UWI) St. Augustine campus was testimony to this fact. Means testing is an obvious way of targeting subsidies and a logical policy decision, though I have some misgivings about how the levels have been set and how the process will actually be administered. 

Ghana: great opportunity but we need a strategy

Ghana: great opportunity but we need a strategy

In May 2016, I had the pleasure of being one of the business sector delegates who joined the Prime Minister on his official state visit to Ghana. It was my fifth visit to the country, though my first as part of an official Government delegation. 

Tough lessons from Latin America

Tough lessons from Latin America

The message that I took away from the feature presentation by Filipe Calderon, former President of Mexico, to the Arthur Lok Jack Graduate School of Business Distinguished Leadership and Innovation Conference was that leadership is about taking decisions, even when they are tough and unpopular. Calderon’s presentation, delivered in a humble and often self-effacing manner, was both fascinating and inspiring. 

Let’s not waste this recession!

Let’s not waste this recession!

The recycling movement locally has been gaining some momentum in recent years, at least in terms of awareness, even if action is still confined to a relatively small sector of the population.  There are more bins and recycling points throughout the country than ever before, even if many of them are filled with rubbish.

Style vs Content: A perspective on the effectiveness of the presentations at the Energy Conference

Style vs Content: A perspective on the effectiveness of the presentations at the Energy Conference

There is an advertisement on the radio for communication training service that ends with a most dubious declaration that “It is not what you say, but how you say it”.  While this statement that ‘style trumps content’ might be true in one of the hallowed governance institutions of our country where any content is allowed once one conforms to the rules of the Speaker, it is certainly not an operating principle for communications in the world of business. 

It's time to renegotiate

It's time to renegotiate

Sanctity of contracts. This is probably an unexpected first line in an article advocating the need to renegotiate contractual arrangements however it is a very relevant consideration. Sanctity of contract refers to the principle that once a party enters into a contract, that party will honour its contractual obligations.

Benefitting from a conditional pledge under the new climate accord

Benefitting from a conditional pledge under the new climate accord

The Paris climate pledges submitted through the system of Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) action plans aim for global decarbonisation. The Trinidad & Tobago pledge includes the concept of a Caribbean Carbon Market (CCM) hosted by the Energy Chamber of Trinidad & Tobago. The market plan has been vetted by Bloomberg New Energy Finance and was showcased at its 2015 summit in New York City. 

Economic outlook for Trinidad and Tobago

Economic outlook for Trinidad and Tobago

In addition to the real and perceived negative socio-economic effects of low oil and gas prices and record low production levels, in Trinidad and Tobago (where God is alleged to have been born/naturalised), weak macroeconomic statistics have given rise to public disagreement on whether the economy is in a recession.

Philanthropy in times of recession

Philanthropy in times of recession

Since the announcement in early December by the Governor of the Central Bank that Trinidad and Tobago has experienced its fourth consecutive quarter of negative economic growth, the “R” word is becoming more commonplace in conversations – recession.

60th Anniversary year: a challenging time for the Energy Chamber

60th Anniversary year: a challenging time for the Energy Chamber

The 60th anniversary year for the Energy Chamber of Trinidad & Tobago is coinciding with what is likely to be a very challenging year for the global energy sector and the Trinidad & Tobago economy, primarily due to the very low commodity prices. 

Job losses in the energy sector

Job losses in the energy sector

Two days before Christmas a front-page headline in the Business Express claimed that there had been 2,800 “oil job cuts and counting”.  The article, by Aleem Khan, went on to explain that jobs in the oil and gas sector declined from 21,700 at the beginning of 2015 to 18,500 by mid-year – a 15% drop.  This sounds extremely alarming and the journalist paints a picture of a crisis in employment brought about by the low price environment.  But is this really what the data is telling us?