Foreign Ministry: Renewed US sanction does not affect Dragon deal

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Minister of Foreign and Caricom Affairs Dr Amery Browne. – File photo by Ayanna Kinsale

The US government’s decision to reimpose sanctions against the energy sector of Venezuela in no way affects the Dragon gas deal between the Maduro government and Trinidad and Tobago.

This was made clear in a press release on April 17 from the Ministry of Foreign and Caricom Affairs.

It followed the publication of a notice from the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) in the US Department of Treasury on amendments to General Licence 44A.

This licence governs sanctions related to Venezuela and deals with authorising the winding-down of transactions related to oil- or gas-sector operations in Venezuela.

The ministry’s release said this amendment to the OFAC General Licence 44 does not affect the specific Amended OFAC licence issued to the Trinidad and Tobago government on October 17.

That licence authorised TT, the National Gas Company (NGC), Shell PLC and their affiliates to do business with the Maduro government and Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) with respect to the Dragon gas field.

This gas field straddles TT and Venezuela’s maritime borders.

The specific licence issued to TT on October 17, the ministry said, is valid until October 31, 2025 and permits Shell, NGC and contractors to continue the work being done to explore, produce and export natural gas from the Venezuelan side of the Dragon gas field.

Additionally, the release pointed out, it was Energy Minister Stuart Young who reminded the public that TT had secured a 30-year exploration and production licence from Venezuela on December 21 for the Dragon gas field.

Work to explore, produce and export the natural gas from this field to TT is ongoing.