Young: Shell, NGC have joint venture agreement on Dragon field

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

MP Stuart Young – Photo by Angelo Marcelle

ENERGY Minister Stuart Young says energy multinational Shell and the National Gas Company (NGC) have a a joint-venture agreement to explore Venezuela’s Dragon field and export natural gas reserves there.

Young made this comment in response to a question from Opposition Senator Wade Mark in the Senate on May 17.

Opposition Senator Anil Roberts asked the question on Mark’s behalf as Mark missed the sitting because he is overseas.

Young told senators, “Trinidad and Tobago through the NGC has signed a joint venture agreement with Shell for the exploitation of the gas in the Dragon gas field and the export of that gas to Trinidad and Tobago. Such an agreement has been signed with Shell.

Roberts asked if geopolitics with respect to events in Venezuela would affect this agreement in any way.

Young replied, “Geopolitics affects everything Geopolitics continues to affect TT and other areas of the world, in ways tangible and intangible.”

He said, “This deal was consumated with a 30 year licence which has never happened…exploration and production license to the Government of TT, NGC and Shell from Venezuela. No OFAC (Office of Foreign Assets Control) license has been granted for Venezuela in as long a term as two years, as TT have gotten (30 years).”

The OFAC falls under the US Treasury Department

He said American energy company Chevron have a three to six month licence from OFAC with respect to operations in Venezuela “that continues to roll over and over.”

Does geopolitics affect Shell and work taking place with respect to the Dragon field?

Young said, “The answer is no. We are proceeding full speed ahead.”

He told senators he met with Shell’s global CEO in Port of Spain two weeks ago.

“Hopefully in the not too distant future, you will see a survey ship going to the Dragon gas field with our people on it, to begin the work on the Dragon gas field. Right now, the engineering work is taking place. The designs are taking place and all of the work that is to be expected is taking place between Shell, NGC, Venezuela and TT.”

Referring to reports last month of amendments to OFAC general licence 44, Young said that licence is now OFAC general licence 44A and “does not affect the specific amended OFAC licence that was issued to the Government of TT on October 17, 2023.”

This amended licence, he continued, authorises Government, NGC, Shell and their affiliates “to conduct business with the government of Venezuela and PDVSA (Venezuela’s state energy company) with respect to the Dragon gas field in Venezuela.

Young reminded senators the amended licence is vaild until October 31, 2025 and “permits Shell, NGC and contractors to continue works being undertaken to explore, produce and export natural gas from Venezuela’s Dragon field to TT.”

He reiterated, “TT secured a 30 year exploration and production (E&P) licence from the government of Venezuela on the 21st of December 2023…a 30 year E&P licence for the Dragon gas field and the work to explore, produce and export natural gas from this field to TT is in fact continuing.”

The US$1 billion Dragon deal was signed between TT and Venezuela in August 2018.

The deal will see TT developing the field, which is estimated to produce approximately 150 million standard cubic feet of gas a day.

The gas will be imported through a billion-dollar pipeline to the Hibiscus platform off the northwest coast of TT. The platform is jointly owned by the Government, NGC and Shell.