By Kim Boodram
Port of Spain
NATIONAL Gas Company (NGC) chairman Mark Loquan was yesterday reserved in addressing the closure of two Methanol Holdings Trinidad Ltd (MHTL) plants at the weekend, maintaining NGC’s position that this country’s shortfall of natural gas can only be solved by continuing to focus on negotiations with upstream sources.
Loquan commented on the closure of two of MHTL’s five plants following the launch yesterday of NGC’s newest energy map of Trinidad and Tobago at the Radisson Hotel on Wrightson Road, Port of Spain.
Asked to confirm whether some contracts held by MHTL had expired since 2013 and why these had not been renewed, Loquan said T&T has been experiencing a shortfall in natural gas for some time and has been trying to work with up streamers to address the issue.
The MHTL closure has attracted the attention of Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley, who said yesterday Government was working on other developments that he hoped would address the situation if it arrived at the point where the company could no longer support its workers.
In a statement Monday, NGC said MHTL had contracts that had expired but that it “continues to supply MHTL with as much gas as is available from up streamers given the prevailing gas supply environment”.
Asked yesterday whether any animosity existed between the companies at this stage, Loquan said NGC continues to negotiate with good faith and “quite professionally”.
Asked about statements by the operator of the methanol complex, Industrial Plant Services Ltd (IPSL), that NGC declined to enter an agreement whereby its pipelines would be used by IPSL to source its own gas, Loquan said NGC maintained that it does not see itself as only a transport company.
He said NGC was also an aggregator and a merchant going forward and that the company had to negotiate in a reasonable manner given the current shortfall.
Loquan said the issue remains a question of supply, a shortfall of which has been around since 2010 and which is not easily solved “tomorrow or next week”.
Asked whether NGC is likely to suffer its own downsizing in the foreseeable future, Loquan said that like any company, globally and locally, NGC would have to be as competitive as it can be.