Oilfield control was the reason behind many 20th-century conflicts. European colonization of Trinidad and the Caribbean was driven by a desire for territory, new sources of food, raw materials, minerals, and – later in Trinidad’s case – oil.

As the world moves toward renewable energy, rich countries are ensuring their economic interest through a new era of colonization. One wherein our energy independence and security is determined by our inability to access capital for climate resilient energy infrastructure or dependency upon their willingness to provide finance. The Chamber believes we can avoid a future energy infrastructure improvement funding crisis by monetising Trinidad’s fugitive emissions and through alliance with the World Bank’s Global Gas Flaring Reduction Partnership.

At the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, Europeans and Americans regarded their countries as, first and foremost, Caucasian. Now these same countries are a diverse set of nations of many cultures, backgrounds, languages and customs. A nationalist backlash in these countries threatens their Paris Agreement pledge of financial aid to developing countries because of climate change. These nations are no longer colonizers in the traditional sense, but are responsible for melting Artic icecaps, superstorms and excess carbon in the atmosphere. They have committed to provide the financial resources needed to climate harden island environments under the Paris Agreement. The Chamber wants to help these countries keep their pledge.

Carbon wasn’t such a menace when the much dirtier Industrial Revolution got started. The planet’s population was only around 1 billion. Today it’s at least 7.6 billion. Addressing climate change requires that every nation, including Trinidad, stops dumping carbon into the global commons of the atmosphere. So, the Chamber has created an enabling financing vehicle and investment pipeline to engage the developed world – The Caribbean Carbon Market.

World Bank idea proposal

The Energy Chamber’s not-for-profit, private sector Caribbean Carbon Market is working with the World Bank to reduce carbon emissions in Trinidad. Together we are planning to arrange for funding the development of renewable and low emission energy system assets using waste gas from Trinidad as the catalyst. This new source of gas will be processed, used locally as well as exported to other Caribbean nations. Our waste gas will lower other Caribbean Island carbon footprints and provide economic relief.

Natural gas is the only logical bridge from fossil fuels to renewable energy. Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) has a market niche between pipelines and Liquified Natural Gas (LNG). A CNG project is quicker to implement than LNG. CNG shipping can also monetize stranded and migrant field associated gas quickly and provide a solution to Trinidad’s venting of methane emissions at oilfield production facilities, such as wellheads, pipelines and gathering stations.

CNG marine transportation is not as common as LNG ISO tanker transport but is a very workable solution. Shell is very interested in supply of energy to the English and Dutch speaking Caribbean Islands and is a member of the Chamber. CNG transport has a wide scope for commercial applications in major worldwide natural gas markets. CNG technology is best suited for short to medium distance projects. The considered economic range for a marine CNG project is up to 2,000 nautical miles one-way. CNG marine technology is suited for both onshore and offshore associated gas capture when a pipeline solution between islands is not economical or because an LNG option is too costly.

Technology transfer

The marine CNG supply chain consists of three main components:

  1. The export upstream loading compression station with loading terminal (onshore or offshore);
  2. The midstream shuttle shipping (re-deployable or movable assets);
  3. The import downstream unloading terminal (onshore or offshore) and the unloading decompression station.

The largest investment cost in the CNG supply chain is the midstream shipping component, contributing up to 85–90% of the capital investment needed. Compared to 25–35% of the total investment for LNG shipping, this makes CNG projects less risky, as most of the investment is in ship assets that can be supplied by a shipping contractor. It also means less investment for a project is needed for the upstream and downstream fixed end assets than would be required for an LNG project, which involves expensive liquefaction and re-gasification facilities.

Our CNG supply system will be optimized, modeled and designed for each specific Caribbean region project case because each project’s requirement will be different. The technology will be sourced from international suppliers but will be installed and managed by Trinidad contractors. Training will be provided by manufacturers and a significant number of permanent skilled jobs will be created (e.g. training/education associated with the introduction of new processes, technologies and products). It is expected that the introduction of the new technologies will open an opportunity of acquiring knowledge through on-job, as well as formal training.

Our project, with Trinidad Government endorsement and consent, will design, build, install, and operate associated gas collection and processing facilities in stranded and migrant Trinidadian oil fields.  The project will install pipelines that deliver the associated gas to gas processing facility (GPF) inlet pipelines.  The GPF will process the associated gas and deliver an in-kind amount of processed natural gas to the project’s CNG facility.  The project will compress the natural gas to CNG pressures and load it into ISO CNG containers, where it will be sold to local consumers and exported to customers in the Caribbean seeking lower cost, more environmentally friendly energy.  The CNG capital expenditure is expected to be primarily debt serviced by the CNG delivery contracts.

Most of the infrastructure required to bring the processed associated gas to users of the gas, including the chemical processing plants, is already installed, because local industry purchase natural gas from the existing gas midstream and downstream infrastructure on Trinidad. The facilities required to bring processed associated gas to export markets include a CNG plant in Trinidad and a generator plant built to use CNG. CNG carriers have a gas cargo containment system installed in the ship hull. The CNG supply system will be optimized, modelled and designed for each specific project case because each project requirement is different.

Our CNG proposal is cutting edge and very scalable up and down. For instance, it is not necessary to develop all of Trinidad’s stranded or migrant fields at one time. It can be done based on the number of low emission projects in the Caribbean pipeline or the need for additional gas feedstock in Trinidad. The CNG plant will be designed to allow for scale up to supply CNG for more than the customers anticipated at present.

All equipment will be monitored for satisfactory operation via an Energy Management System equipped with real-time reporting and alarm capabilities. The associated gas delivered to the associated gas pipeline will be metered at each connection point, utilizing state-of-the-art orifice measuring plates. The composition of the associated gas will be sampled monthly at each tie-in point to determine its market value per negotiated contract terms with the gas processing facility.

The CNG project and recovery and utilization of waste gas from onshore oil fields will contribute significantly to Trinidad and Tobago’s goal of sustainable development in many ways, including:

  • Reducing consumption of exhaustible gas resource by switching a portion of present supplies with captured waste gas;
  • Increasing foreign exchange earnings;
  • Increasing national income (GDP) due to new and increased gas sales;
  • Providing employment both temporary and permanent during the installation and operation of the CNG and gas recovery system;
  • Expanding technological innovation, as this project will be the first gas recovery system ever installed in the country;
  • Reducing the emissions in compliance with Trinidad’s Paris Agreement pledge;
  • Eliciting no transboundary impacts;
  • Exporting natural gas to small island developing states to replace dirty and expensive fuels;
  • Providing Shell and BP of Trinidad opportunity to monetise waste gas at Atlantic and offer cross-border emission cooperation with Venezuela.

The World Bank Deal

We understand that there is a myriad of Line Ministry cross-cutting issues that must be resolved before a project idea like the one being proposed can be implemented. The World Bank will provide up to USD Five Million for a feasibility study of the CNG project to help us work through these issues.

The World Bank trusts the reputation of Trinidad and the Energy Chamber. It wants a CNG export project constructed and operated that reduces emissions and provides energy security to Trinidad, as well as other Caribbean nations.

Our project framework of policy, technology and financing will be compliant with all domestic environmental and international law and will allow Trinidad to participate in a global renewable energy market estimated to be USD 1 trillion a year. To bring this opportunity to Trinidad, all that is needed is Government endorsement of the World Bank’s Global Gas Flaring Reduction Partnership. The World Bank requires no national treasure or binding commitment of any kind from Trinidad. Our customary decency towards our island neighbours, continued grace under economic pressure, and a willingness to commit a small amount of our carbon emissions to a regional CNG supply idea will do.