|TT companies search for oil in Haiti |
By Vernon Khelawan Thursday, June 13 2013
SHOULD Haiti become an oil-rich nation in the near future what would it mean for that nation, now often referred to as the “Poor House” of the Caribbean. But if things go the way they ought following recent happenings in a particular area of Haiti then that appellation would have to be changed.
As a matter of fact the pendulum might swing fully across the economic landscape and Haiti could soon become the richest country in the Caribbean and Trinidad and Tobago energy companies would be in the forefront of the “oil assault”.
Pushing ahead with that vision, the Haiti-based company – Petrogaz-Haiti SA (PGH) – which has major ties to several Trinidad and Tobago energy companies, was recently awarded six licences by the Haitian government for the exploration of oil and natural gas as well as associated enterprises.
As a matter of fact spearheading this strengthened assault on discovering oil and natural gas in Haiti, PGH has already entered into a joint venture agreement with South-based energy company Caribbean Well Service Company Limited (CWS) to operate the oil and natural gas projects in Haiti, as well as any other projects that may come on stream, in accordance with their mutual partnership agreement.
The six licences approved by the Haitian government cover the following areas -:
• Production of crude petroleum;
• Production and distribution of gas;
• Refining of petroleum;
• Sale of petroleum products (wholesale);
• Other commercial retail activity; and
• Import and export.
Petrogaz-Haiti SA already has strong ties with Trinidad and Tobago’s energy sector since it currently serves as the exclusive agent/distributor for Trinidad and Tobago’s National Petroleum Marketing Company Limited (NPMC) in Haiti as well as its neighbour, the Dominican Republic and the entire state of Florida in the United States.
Further, Petrogaz is currently pursuing a traffic study to evaluate the feasibility and financial viability for the development of a Petrogaz-Haiti SA Branded Truck Stop and refuelling station in Haiti and is now seeking discussions with the Ministry of Energy and Energy Affairs in Trinidad and Tobago pertaining to the distributive fuel and gas trade, as well as the development of other petroleum-related investments.
The company was formed in 2007, and is a Haitian corporation owned by professionals and businessmen who are citizens of Haiti, Trinidad and Tobago and the United States and has been approved and licensed to operate in Haiti as an oil and chemical company.
But all this action did not come about by accident. For decades a Trinidadian petroleum and mining engineer and geologist and Caribbean expert in this field, Herbert Sukhu, have studied Haiti’s oil and gas prospects.
He recently reviewed seismic data, examined exploration wells drilled between 1917 and 1984, and conducted extensive field trips and sample analyses on the south-western peninsula where he confirms “evidence of asphaltic impregnated organic rich limestone in basement rocks of the Massanga part of the steep hills of Massif de la Hotte, Pic Macaya and Nan Pourcine where light hydrocarbons are found”, giving rise to the strong possibility of the existence of oil and natural gas deposits in those areas. His studies support the works of previous technologists at the Haitian Bureau of Mines and Energy.
Haitian attorney Fred Elusma, president of PGH is expected in Trinidad and Tobago as part of a Haitian delegation to participate in the IBC Energy’s Second Annual Caribbean Gas Trading and Supply Conference from June 25 through 26 at the Hilton Trinidad. Elusma will deliver a paper on “The Gas Potential in Haiti”.
It is instructive that at the same time all of this is happening in Haiti, the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) is predicting a two percent growth for Caribbean economies.
More importantly however, is that in its 2013 predictions on the expected rise in Gross Domestic Product (GDP), ECLAC has forecast a six per cent growth for both Haiti and Peru behind Paraguay (ten percent) and Panama (eight per cent). In its report, ECLAC stated that Haiti, as well as Cuba and the Dominican Republic were expected to benefit from “a more buoyant United States economy, combined with improvements in the agricultural sector, especially in Cuba, Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic and the construction sector in Guatemala, Haiti and Honduras.”
The report also stated that in 2012 Haiti did better than many other Latin and South American countries growing its economy by 4.3 percent, when compared to South American countries which grew by only 2.5 percent.