Collaboration for a changing energy landscape _Lincoln-RAMJATTAN

Trinidad and Tobago could be the first Caribbean nation to pursue a green hydrogen agenda.


Collaboration for a changing energy landscape

March 14, 2024

Lincoln Ramjattan, general manager of Tucker Energy Services, talks to The Energy Year about how Trinidad and Tobago can maintain competitiveness with the region’s frontier energy markets and the key role of the country’s renewables developments. Tucker Energy Services provides oil and gas services and technology solutions.

How can Trinidad and Tobago maintain its competitiveness alongside frontier energy markets in the region?
Trinidad and Tobago is well positioned to maintain its competitiveness as a regional leader in the energy industry. It has significant hydrocarbons production, as well as remaining reserves with further potential in secondary and tertiary recovery methods such as EOR for mature onshore fields, along with offshore and onshore compression facilities for mature gasfields.
We have a competitive natural gas trading position with a four-train LNG facility that exports internationally to EU territories (around 40%), the USA (11%), South America (9%) and the Far East. Train 1 is also the lowest-unit-cost LNG facility ever constructed and will likely continue to hold that record. Additionally, Trinidad and Tobago is the major supplier of NGLs to the Caribbean.
Furthermore, Trinidad has a very experienced, skilled and adaptable workforce that is essential in allowing the nation to compete effectively in the global energy scene. The government is investing in education and training programmes to equip this workforce with the necessary skills for the evolving energy landscape. Generations of Trinidadians have worked and grown skills and capabilities across petro-technical disciplines, along with supply chain, financial and energy support services, and there is a healthy pipeline of talent supplied through local universities with petroleum engineering and industry-related degrees.
Additionally, promoting local content initiatives ensures that a significant portion of the value chain remains within the country, creating employment opportunities and fostering economic growth.

Will collaboration with multinationals continue to play an important role in the development of the industry?
We have strong relationships and industry engagement, and in a rapidly changing energy landscape, collaboration is key. Trinidad and Tobago has partnerships with international energy companies that leverage their expertise, technology and financial resources. The country has attracted investment from multinational energy companies for more than 100 years and is currently supported by numerous international service providers, including Tucker Energy Services. Collaborative ventures facilitate knowledge transfer, enhance operational efficiency and provide access to global markets. Strengthening ties with neighbouring countries, such as Guyana and Suriname, can also foster regional co-operation, creating a unified front that attracts more substantial investments and facilitates stronger infrastructure development.


How is fostering more sustainable energy solutions contributing to the local energy market’s competitive edge?
To secure its competitive edge, Trinidad and Tobago must embrace energy diversification and technological innovation. While fossil fuels remain a cornerstone of the nation’s economy, exploring alternative energy sources can position it as a forward-thinking and sustainable player in the global energy market. Investing in research and development to enhance extraction techniques, reduce environmental impact and improve efficiency will not only boost competitiveness but also align with global trends towards cleaner energy solutions.
Currently the country’s major solar project, Project Lara, is under construction at two locations: Brechin Castle and Orange Grove. It will have 112 MW of capacity and be the largest solar plant in the eastern Caribbean. The project is supported by a partnership between bpTT, Shell and the government of Trinidad and Tobago.
With the recently launched roadmap to green hydrogen as a major decarbonisation option for the power and industrial sectors, Trinidad and Tobago could be the first Caribbean nation to pursue a green hydrogen agenda. This is supported by a long-standing history as a global player in the production of ammonia, with green hydrogen seen as the next step as well as a major decarbonisation option for the power and industrial sectors. All of this paves the way for Trinidad to become an integrated energy hub for the Caribbean.

How is Tucker Energy leveraging opportunities to service companies participating in decarbonisation efforts?
We are leveraging alliances to support the development of lower-emissions tools, in addition to supporting operator companies in their decarbonisation initiatives. This is the case with companies such as BP and Atlantic that are currently executing projects to reduce their carbon footprint and greenhouse gas emissions at offshore and onshore facilities.

Looking at the further development of the local energy industry, what financial challenges are facing multinationals and SMEs?
A major challenge is the rising development costs for investment in our oil and gas sector – with more complex wells needed in mature fields and for the deepwater developments that hold Trinidad’s largest exploration and production potential.
Given the global pressure to transition to lower-carbon energy sources, only the most competitive barrels are prioritised for investment, making it even harder to attract this from big international players in the region.
SMEs need to think creatively on how to support these energy companies with tools and services that offer a reduction in well, project and material costs without loss of quality. This should be supported by innovative digital solutions for faster decision-making and speedier work cycles, which will lead to significant cost efficiency and productivity gains.
Companies need to adopt affordable advanced exploration and extraction technologies to maximise resource recovery – the financial challenge lies in balancing the costs of implementing new technologies with the potential long-term benefits while maintaining competitiveness.
Increasing global emphasis on environmental sustainability and compliance with environmental standards can lead to additional costs for the energy industry. Investments in cleaner technologies and adherence to stringent environmental regulations may pose additional financial challenges, although they are increasingly seen as essential for long-term sustainability.

What do potential investors need to see in companies to enhance their sense of security in the market?
Investors need to see a company strategy that plays to a balanced portfolio of opportunities that can withstand price volatility: a mix of resources (for example, investment in hydrocarbons, transition growth engines such as hydrogen and low-carbon energy sources) and a large contracted human resource pool for sustainable development and production.
Financial institutions must not only allow for loans and investment into this balanced energy mix, but also incentivise with lower investment rates in order to keep up with global trends in resource supply and demand and sources of cash.
Governments also have a critical role to play in creating an enabling environment through regulatory frameworks and fiscal reforms for investments – for hydrocarbons as well as renewables. They need to improve current policies and put in place new ones aimed at subsidies, reducing permitting and licensing delays (for renewables installations, as an example), as well as localising renewable energy value chains and ensuring local talent is used, to make these investments more accessible to the small to medium-sized outfits.

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