BHP Billiton has recently moved its North American Petroleum Accounting and Reporting functions from Houston to Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. At first sight, this may not seem a particularly newsworthy event, but the relocation of this important function represents a rare win in Trinidad and Tobago’s national diversification strategy, which has emphasised the development of service exports to complement the traditional export of oil, gas and petrochemicals. By relocating accounting services from Houston to Port of Spain, BHP Billiton will be exporting accounting services from Trinidad and Tobago to the USA and other countries in the region.
The move fits in with the thrust of the Trinidad and Tobago International Financial Centre, which is to be a leading destination for financial services as one way to contribute to the diversification of the economy.
This move clearly demonstrates BHP Billiton's continued commitment to the country and its confidence in the Trinidad and Tobago talent pool. The process for BHP was started in 2014 and will continue into mid-2017. According to Johnathon Boyce, Senior Finance Manager Revenue, Petroleum Finance, BHP Billiton, the purpose of this unit is to assume petroleum accounting responsibilities that are being transitioned from the Houston office. The functions which will now reside in Trinidad will include revenue and joint venture accounting.
Trinidad was a natural choice for the relocation of the petroleum accounting and reporting function since BHP Billiton already has a presence in Trinidad. In addition, Trinidad and Tobago’s expertise in the area of accounting and finance is very strong. According to Boyce, Trinidad also has a very good base of accounting professionals and added that in the past they have had success when hiring Trinidad and Tobago nationals.