NGC Chairman meets with top THA Executives

National Gas Company (NGC) Chairman Larry Howai.
Work on the$1.4 billion natural gas project at the Cove Eco-Business and Industrial Park in southwest Tobago is expected to be completed by the end of November while the supply of gas to the $600 million electric power plant turbines will begin by the end of the year.

This was disclosed by National Gas Company (NGC) Chairman Larry Howai at the end of a one-hour meeting with top executives of the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) headed by Chief Secretary Orville London yesterday. (Monday 18th July 2011)

The gas line has already been laid from the BHP Billiton field 25 miles off east Trinidad in the Atlantic Ocean, making landfall at Cove where the gas processing plant was in the final stages of construction. The Trinidad and Tobago Electricity Commission (T&TEC) power plant is located a stone’s throw away from the gas plant.

Howai said no firm decision had been made as yet on the Caribbean Gas Pipeline Project to supply gas to islands of the Eastern Caribbean, adding that the government was in technical discussions relating to the matter. “I don’t want to say very much on that but I can say that the project is being reviewed, it is very much alive and the NGC is a small shareholder in the company,” Howai added.

Howai said NGC was pleased to be associated with the continued development of Tobago and the meeting was an opportunity to start some preliminary discussions on how the company might be able to partner with the THA in going forward for the benefit of Tobago and the development of the Tobago economy.

Asked whether Trinidad and Tobago had enough gas to supply domestic and foreign demands, NGC President Andrew McIntosh said: “The bottom line in my own estimation, we have gas for a long time to come, but getting it into the proof category requires exploration.”

London said the meeting also discussed the possibility of gas being piped to hotels and homes in southwest Tobago. He said the parties were having discussions at the strategic level and the company was working with the Assembly to determine its feasibility. “It sounds like a good idea but we need to get the technical people to give us an idea of the cost and other technical implications to see whether it is feasible.

He said the NGC was one of the largest contributors to the development of Tobago over the years, adding that from a technical perspective the NGC would have invested $1.1 billion on the gas pipeline from the BHP Billiton field to Cove and over $300 million in the gas processing plant.

He added that over the years the NGC has been associated with a number of projects and programmes in Tobago including the construction of a pavilion at Shaw Park, a $6 million contribution to the YMCA Swimming Pool at the Courland Heritage Park and the proposed Pan Theatre for the Dem Boys Steelband at Mason Hall.

London said there were a number of other projects of social and physical development issues in which the State company has participated and he was able to get confirmation and guidance on some other issues relating to the development of Tobago.

Also representing the THA were Chief Administrator Dr Ellis Burris, Executive Adviser Norris Jack and Energy Adviser Walter Coppin.

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