During the Trinidad and Tobago Energy Conference in January, BPTT announced that they would take a delegation of Trinidad and Tobago stakeholders to Altamira, Mexico where the Angelin platform is being fabricated. The delegation, including Senator the Honourable Franklin Khan, Minister of Energy and Energy Industries, visited the fabrication yard later that month. The idea was for the delegation to get a first-hand view of the critical success factors required for the execution of a major project such as Angelin. According to Norman Christie, Regional President of BPTT, the trip was a ‘successful learning experience’ but he added, ‘Building a competitive fabrication industry in Trinidad and Tobago will require the full collaboration of the private sector, government and the community.’
The visit also aimed to share lessons learned from the fabrication of Angelin. The delegation held discussions with representatives from the Mexican government and with McDermott, the engineering, procurement, construction, installation and commissioning (EPCIC) contractor for Angelin. McDermott is the owner and operator of the Altamira fabrication yard. The delegation also had the opportunity to talk to Trinidad and Tobago nationals who are in Mexico working on the Angelin project.
Minister Khan said that the mission was also to obtain an in-depth understanding of the systems and processes at work. He reiterated his view that as Trinidad and Tobago sought to attract more investment into its upstream gas sector, local companies must also become more reliable and competitive especially where delivery timelines are concerned.
On the mission, discussions focused on platform fabrication but the delegation also got a better understanding of the full project scope and opportunities for local content from the design and engineering phase to procurement, fabrication, commissioning and installation.
After the visit to Mexico, Minister Khan delivered a presentation in a town hall-style meeting in La Brea at the Vessigny Secondary School. The Minister spoke to residents about their responsibilities as stakeholders and urged them to find better ways to air their grievances. He said that the presence of organised labour and unions was not the issue but rather how disputes were being addressed.
He reflected on the Altamira visit and said the workers there were unionised as well but they were able to solve their problems without protest actions. He also indicated that the Angelin platform at this point was months ahead of schedule. He reminded participants that while Juniper was delivered on time, part of the fabrication had to be sent abroad to be completed to preserve the project timeline. The protest action was one of the factors that led to the decision that Angelin would be built in Mexico, which was a significant loss to the community and the wider country. He also urged participants to see the broader picture and understand the competitive nature of the global industry and how industrial protests and activities that alter project timelines can have very negative impacts.
At the Energy Conference, Christie said the decision to build Angelin outside of Trinidad and Tobago was difficult but added, ‘We must learn from our experiences’. Christie said that collaboration is needed to develop the local platform fabrication industry and cited the visit to Altamira as an example of collaboration. ‘At BPTT, we are committed to knowledge transfer to improve competitiveness in Trinidad and Tobago’, he said.
Angelin will be BPTT’s 15th platform. It is due to arrive in Trinidad in Q3 of this year and will be installed in Q4. First gas from the facility is expected in 2019. Drilling is due to commence in Q3 2018 and first gas from the facility is expected in Q1 2019.