Mark Loquan on 8-year stint as NGC president: ‘It was challenging but very rewarding’

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

National Gas Company (NGC) Ltd president Mark Loquan greets two women at the energy conference at the Hyatt Regency in Port of Spain on January 22. Photo by Roger Jacob

NATIONAL Gas Company (NGC) president Mark Loquan, who announced his resignation earlier this month, described his time at the company as challenging and turbulent, but rewarding.

“It was a period of difficulty in terms of pricing, volume, new contracts and claims. From that point of view, it was extremely challenging.”Speaking on January 22 – day one of the three-day energy conference at the Hyatt Regency in Port of Spain – Loquan said he was satisfied with the achievements of the company as he prepares to depart, “Where we are now in a better place, a lot has been stabilised and there’s a lot more hope for the future. We’re not fighting every single day any more.”

What accomplishment is he most proud of during his eight-year stint?

“Normally, I would say the company’s stability, but the culture has changed towards sustainability, using technology. Those are the things I hope will be of great value to the organisation going forward.”

He added that the company’s work towards positively affecting the lives of people also holds a special place for him.

Earlier in January, Loquan announced he would step down as president on August 31, Independence Day.

Speaking with Newsday at the Hyatt’s conference room, Loquan said despite opting not to renew his contract, he is leaving the company on amicable terms.

He was asked what qualities he believes his replacement should possess.

“It will have to be someone who is able to work with many stakeholders, from gas suppliers to down streamers to manufacturers and the government. They should also have technical knowledge of the industry.”At the same time, they should have the ability to look forward as we embark on a transformative period, going green.”

While he does not have anyone in mind for the job, he is confident in the selection process and the committee tasked with finding his replacement. Loquan, however, will be integral to the transition process.

“Handing over is very important to ensure the priorities are known.”

Acknowledging his decision to step down, not only as president but as a board member, may have stirred up conversations, he said, “I would say after 40 years in the industry, I don’t have anything to prove or to be on a board. What’s more important is being able to lend strategic advice. I much prefer to make sure the right candidate is there and that the input I give is impactful.”

He believes staying focused on strategy is the most important thing.

He has no plans to retire.

“I’ve already announced I am part of Republic Bank Holding, the RBHL board…the holding company. It is a whole new sector I’m getting involved with, the financial sector, which is a good thing because if you talk about sustainability going forward, the financing and institutions behind that are important for its future.

“I will be supporting the NGC group and where I’m needed, in the background indirectly, I will give that support.”

Loquan said he hopes the new president prioritises gas supply, saying it is an area that cannot be overlooked.

“Energy security is clearly a big one. There are challenges ahead until some of the big stuff comes along, like the Dragon gas deal.”There is a period that still needs to be managed for your gas supply and energy efficiency, and of course, NGC Green, we are actually operationalising it and making sure that we can invest in the local, regional, and international markets for that whole new subsidiary.”

In his final address at the energy conference as NGC president, Loquan spoke on sustainable strategies.

He expanded on this theme during his interview with Newsday.

“Sustainability is about making an impact. So besides profitability, you’re actually doing something with it and making sure that’s done through a sustainability strategy. Going green and all these things – setting up the green entity building, safety projects delivering on time, the governance – all of that is happening along with the technology strategy.”

Loquan admitted to wishing he had made more progress in gas supply.

“It was not just within my control, and I would have liked to do more in power, T&TEC, how much gas you use in power compared to what you put in the LNG. I wish there was more progress on the power side; it’s really where a lot of improvements need to happen.

“But at the same time, we are venturing into renewable energy and all of these things. So there’s much more efficiency that I hope we could expand on along the entire chain.”

On leaving, Loquan said he plans to take a short vacation and contine his decades-long love affair with pan.

“Oh, and yes, I will spend more time with my family.”