Trinidad and Tobago, over the years, has found in Guyana a major trading partner for its goods.
Thousands of Guyanese also live there and tourists from this country have been going there in droves for Carnival and CPL cricket.
There are several Trini-controlled businesses that have been here for years, including Massy, Ansa McAl, Republic Bank, and the list goes on.
This week, Guyana inked a key agreement with T&T for closer collaboration in this country’s oil and gas sector.
With oil production two years away, Guyana is banking on the Trini’s 100-plus years of oil and gas experience.
There is no sellout, but an opportunity for shared knowledge and resources, President David Granger and T&T’s Prime Minister, Dr. Keith Rowley insisted on Wednesday during the signing at State House.
There has been worry from the private sector and calls for the agreement to be made public.
Hours after the signing, the agreement on the energy sector cooperation was made public by the Ministry of the Presidency.
According to the MoU, the agreement does not provide any exclusivity or prohibit either party from entering into agreements or instruments of this type with third parties.
“Nothing provided in this MoU will also affect the rights of the parties over their respective archipelagic waters, territories, maritime zones and air space under their sovereignty and jurisdiction”.
That also holds for “…all natural resources in respect thereof, in accordance with the national laws and regulations of the respective Party and the applicable rules and principles of international law.”
The document also assured that both countries acknowledge that this MoU shall not constitute a legally binding agreement between the parties in any respect, nor is it intended to create rights or provide remedies enforceable by either party.
So what exactly are the benefits?
Trinidad, with both onshore and offshore oil and gas operations, and several downstream activities, will provide technical assistance in the areas of exploration and production of hydrocarbon resources.
The two countries also have the leg-room for the “identification and development” of projects throughout the hydrocarbon value chain and the “identification of projects in the area of construction and maintenance of plants and infrastructure related to transportation, storage and supply of hydrocarbons and derivatives.”
Guyana currently has limited capacity to store oil. Trinidad has that capacity.
Trinidad also has possibilities under the MoU to explore exchange arrangements and other delivery mechanisms for oil and gas products, including gasoline and diesel.
The MoU also speaks broadly on “any other means of cooperation agreed to by the Parties in the areas related to the objective of this agreement in accordance with the national legal system of each country”.
The MoU allows for Guyana and T&T to enter into specific agreements for the development and implementation of the activities listed.
Among other things, the Twin-island Republic can also be banked on for the exchange of information on public policies in the area of the regulation, administration and sovereign management of hydrocarbon resources and technology transfer.
This will also hold same for the information on government programmes throughout the oil and gas value chain and related experiences.
Guyana can also tap into the training and capacity building of technical personnel and the development of energy technologies through technical visits, secondments, seminars and presentations.
Perhaps, more significantly, is the opportunities for both countries to work in the promotion of cooperation and exchange of experiences between state-owned petroleum enterprises for the “development of joint projects utilising mechanisms convenient to the parties”.
Trinidad is also willing to help Guyana develop policies, plans and protocols relating to health, safety and the environment and the establishment of procedures to prevent and respond to operational accidents which may result in damage, environmental impacts and personal injury.
With regards to the very controversial issue of local content, Guyana can also look that sister CARICOM country for help.
The MoU said that the two countries will designate the ministers responsible for energy and energy-related industries who shall comprise the Executing Committee for the implementation of the agreement.
Guyana has announced plans to expand its cooperation with T&T to include sports, among other areas.
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