It was a disappointing decision not to construct the Angelin platform in La Brea. However, this decision has been driven by the need to ensure that natural gas is available in Trinidad and Tobago by early 2019. There were clear concerns that any interruptions to project delivery, whether due to labour unrest or other factors, would have serious implications for bpTT, the National Gas Company and the downstream processors and users of natural gas. This in turn would have serious implications for the overall national economy.
Angelin will be BP’s next major project in Trinidad and Tobago, following on from Juniper. Construction of Juniper at Trinidad Offshore Fabricators Company (TOFCO) was marred with labour challenges which had the inevitable consequence of having to outsource a portion of the work to a company in Houston to preserve the project timeline. Failure to deliver on schedule would have resulted in TOFCO facing significant fines and penalties.
This decision highlights the urgent need for Trinidad and Tobago to improve productivity. Within the energy-related construction sector, many companies report that productivity levels have dropped over recent years not least due to high rates of absenteeism and protests. At the same time, demands for wage increases have continued, meaning that companies have become less competitive compared to companies operating in the United States, Mexico and elsewhere. This reality highlights the need for serious reforms to our industrial relations framework and improvements to work ethic and productivity.
The total Angelin project is estimated at $800m, albeit less than Juniper (approx. $2.1b) and represents significant FDI which will be forgone for T&T. The platform will now be built in Mexico by McDermott who also completed the FEED design and will now be awarded the EPC contract for Angelin. Having the platform built in Mexico also represents job creation for Mexicans and subcontracts being awarded to other firms who can provide services in Mexico. These are also opportunities for jobs and services contracts forgone.
While platform construction is only one portion of the overall delivery of a major offshore gas development, other opportunities for local content also exist in the drilling, installation and commissioning phases of the Angelin project. First gas from Angelin is expected in January 2019.