While the COVID-19 pandemic and other troubling global trends have forced a rethinking and reshuffling of investments, developing nations, particularly those in the Caribbean region, must not be forced to halt their fossil fuel programmes. In fact, they must be allowed to do so to reduce their dependence on volatile outside sources.
Delivering this message at the opening of the International Energy Conference Guyana 2023 today at the Marriott Hotel was Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, Dr. Keith Rowley.
The CARICOM leader said it is clear that there is a need to transition to cleaner energy sources in light of the devastating effects of climate change. Be that as it may, he said this line of argument must not be used to castrate the hydrocarbon agenda of nations like Guyana, Barbados and Jamaica.
Dr. Rowley said the war in Ukraine has forced many wealthy continental blocs to restart coal plants, irrespective of global commitments to constrain the use of such high emitting sources. In response to the energy crunch that has gripped the market, Dr. Rowley said, “The Caribbean’s response is to designate gas as that clean energy solution and we will protect our right to continue on this path and market our oil resources. We will also invest in green technologies as far as we are able to.”
The PM also noted that his homeland will continue to make the case for major oil polluters such as Russia, USA, and China to invest in green initiatives identified within the region which must bear the brunt of the worsening climate change phenomena.
In the meantime, he said Trinidad has engaged its neighbours to pursue oil and gas exploration and development to reduce reliance on fuel imports. In this regard, he noted that Trinidad and Tobago has executed unitization agreements with Venezuela, Barbados and Grenada to allow for exploration in their shared borders. He said too that a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed with Guyana and Haiti on energy cooperation along with a Heads of Agreement for the development of gas at the Dragon field shared offshore with Venezuela.
Rowley said the foregoing efforts are critical towards ensuring domestic and regional energy security since much of the verbal encouragement and even aggressive demands of wealthy countries to go 100 percent renewables, have been one-sided. He said they have not been accompanied by any requisite care and investment consideration in small, debt laden economies. It is therefore necessary that Caribbean nations leverage their collective resources to secure a sustainable future, the PM concluded.