Trinidad’s upstream opportunities Palaash NARASE Aronco

We need to capitalise more on our downstream sector to bring income back into the country.

Palaash NARASE Operations Manager ARONCO SERVICES

Trinidad’s energy opportunities

March 24, 2023

Palaash Narase, operations manager of Aronco Services, talks to The Energy Year about challenges facing Trinidad and Tobago’s energy industry and how Trinidadian consultancy services are viewed in foreign markets. Aronco Services is a local company that provides construction and maintenance services and vehicle rental for the energy industry.

What level of opportunity do you see within the country’s upstream sector?
Unfortunately, there have been no significant breakthroughs in the upstream market. It has not aggressively expanded since 2019 and there were no avenues available for us to capitalise on. However, perhaps within the next year opportunities will present themselves. There will be a greater push from the upstream sector for more services. If the opportunity exists, we will try to be part of the action.

What current challenges need to be overcome for Trinidad and Tobago’s hydrocarbons sector to succeed?
Projects happening now come with a three- to five-year stop cap system. Within the next three to five years, there will most likely be more encouragement to go into deepwater exploration. We are hoping the government changes its tax strategy to encourage investment as opposed to what they are doing now. Investors are not being encouraged to invest.
We need to capitalise more on our downstream sector to bring income back into the country. We should stop taxing the hand that wants to feed a couple billion dollars into the market. We have always had a very stable government, which is a good thing for investors.


Into what international and regional markets have you expanded?
There has been stagnation in the local market since 2019. We have decided to get involved with foreign business partners and open affiliate branches of operations, which we have done successfully so far. Our transition into Guyana is complete and fully functional. We provide general construction, quarrying and concrete to the market. We are well positioned to take on the four contracts we are engaged with.
In 2021, we were asked to provide specialist consultancy in the USA for the steel market. We have successfully started our American transition under our Aronco USA entity, having expanded into Texas and Ohio. Our business partnerships also stretch into Mexico. Our next phase of expansion involves Mexico, the Middle East and Venezuela, where we had some initial discussions in the iron and steel markets for specialised consultancy services.
We want to continue expanding in foreign markets. We are currently riding the coattails of our success. There is gas in the continental shelf outside of Guyana in deep waters and plenty of opportunities in this sector. Once a company hits it big, the market will come back to us.

How have working dynamics changed in the last three years for the domestic engineering and construction sector?
Things have now moved towards being virtual in terms of meetings, sourcing material and consultancy services. The main reason we were able to get traction in the USA was because we went back to physical meetings, which was greatly appreciated in the market. In Trinidad, people have gotten accustomed to a virtual way of doing things with a lot more support from virtual teams in the USA, Europe and South America.

How is Trinidadian expertise and consultancy perceived in foreign markets?
We have shared our skills and experiences with people all over the world, which has been refreshing. People look at us as a good source of knowledge and value. In Trinidad and Tobago, it is a lot easier for Trinidadian companies to take professional advice from a foreign company as opposed to local companies. They tend to think a foreign company adds more value, which is interestingly the opposite for us on the global stage.
Trinidadians are perceived as having high value when lending expertise to foreign companies. It is a remarkable achievement for a country of our size to have such expatriate knowledge shared around the world. We are proud that Aronco has been able to do this in Guyana and the USA. At Aronco we rely on the intuitive nature of our managerial team.
Our team is very close knit, and we are all professionals by rank. We qualify and keep up to date with global trends. We also try to be as simple as possible in our interactions. When you have a wonderful network, it makes it easier to excel.

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