The National Energy Corporation (NEC), now known as National Energy (NE), is keen to add energy logistics to its prime function as promoter of gas-based heavy industries and energy sustainability in general.

Indeed, it is the company’s logistics role, as it sees it, that will underpin the energy sustainability that it wants to ensure in Trinidad and Tobago.

Dr. Vernon Paltoo, NE’s president, indicated to EnergyNow that the new logistics element in its mission, mainly centred on the new US$85 million Galeota port on the southeastern tip of Trinidad but also taking in the Brighton port in the southwest, was “an essential part of the whole thrust of ensuring that the Trinidad and Tobago energy sector remains vibrant into the future.”

NE also provides towing services via five tugs, which also fall under the rubric of its logistics services.

But the Galeota port is the principal element in this new thrust, judging by the major plans for its development being pursued by NE.

Phase one opened in September 2014, with five berths, four for supply and research vessels, the fifth for the Coast Guard, which has wanted a base in the southeast of the country for a long time.

The dredged channel and turning basin is around 7.6 metres deep. Three hectares of land were reclaimed to add to the space available for port activities, and there are four hectares of “back land” for various uses.

Phase two, which is already in train, will involve the construction of four additional berths, dredged to about 12 metres, which will further assist the launch of the Galeota port as a key logistics hub.

“With a 12-metre draft, you can do anything,” Dr. Paltoo insists. “All vessels could use this port, with such a draft.”

He has a sweeping vision for Galeota going forward.

“Galeota and Brighton at La Brea, to some extent, will be hubs for planning and servicing the emerging petroleum provinces in the Caribbean, such as Suriname, Guyana, French Guiana, Barbados, even northeastern Brazil. As energy activity in these places grow, we have to expand our market outside of Trinidad and Tobago.”

He points out that as exploration and, it is to be hoped, development moves forward in those countries, a wide variety of services will be needed that are not currently available in such “emerging petroleum provinces.”

That’s where Galeota comes in.

“All the hardware required for those activities could be sent to those places through Galeota.”

Dr. Paltoo sees the deepwater discoveries in both Guyana and French Guiana as inevitably requiring the development services that can be supplied via Galeota.

NE expects to approach both ExxonMobil and Shell/Tullow with regard to continuing activity offshore Guyana and French Guiana.

When cross-border gas development activity between Trinidad and Tobago and Venezuela gets going (if it ever does), Paltoo expects Galeota to be a “facilitator” in this regard.

In the meantime, energy-related activities within Trinidad and Tobago's own offshore jurisdiction will be best served by utilising Galeota, says Paltoo.

As he observes, “Exploration and production companies have already started to use Galeota to transport people and supplies offshore. And that’s just the start, as far as activity related to Trinidad and Tobago is concerned. With the deepwater thrust, there will be a lot more activity on the east and northeast coasts. So Galeota has a big future as a logistics hub.”