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Hart: EITI not getting attention

By VERNE BURNETT Saturday, June 20 2015

VICTOR HART, chairman of the TT Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (TTEITI) says the initiative is one of the most important being undertaken in TT at the moment, but lamented that it was not getting the attention it deserves.

He said the EITI is important “because it is protecting the people’s patrimony, it is protecting our children’s inheritance by making sure that the oil and gas revenues to which the country is entitled is actually paid to the Government,” and is accounted for and used in a sustainable manner on useful projects and not white elephants.

Hart was one of five persons honoured on Wednesday night at the Hyatt Regency, Port-of- Spain, during the official book launch of the Oil & Gas Year Trinidad & Tobago 2015, a publication focusing on developments in the local oil and gas sector. He was honoured for Institutional Initiative of the Year for his work on the EITI initiative.

Hart said the annual EITI report has a “wealth of information” on revenues paid by the oil and gas companies to the government which had been reconciled with the receipts declared by the State.

While lamenting that not enough attention was being paid to the initiative, Hart conceded that

“After four-and-a-half years of EITI implementation we are seeing a gradual appreciation of the importance of this initiative but it still is falling far short of what we would like.” He said he wanted to see “this wealth of information studied by the university as part of their research programmes to further studies on the energy sector. We would like to see civil society in particular, whose patrimony EITI seeks to protect, using that information to hold the government and the companies more accountable for how these revenues are spent. And so far it’s a painfully slow process.”

The Oil & Gas Year Trinidad and Tobago 2015 was the second edition of the publication and according to a statement by the publishers, it seeks to present an in-depth look at Trinidad and Tobago’s efforts to enhance production and availability of supply further down the gas value chain, develop oil and gas infrastructure and facilitate the growth of domestic services and manufacturing companies. The book was published by Wildcat International and produced in collaboration with The Energy Chamber of Trinidad and Tobago.

Apart from Hart, the National Gas Company was honoured for its 40 years of leadership in the purchase, sale, transmission and distribution of natural gas; BHP Biliton received the award for Offshore Activity of the Year for its plan to execute a 20,000 square kilometre 3D seismic survey in deepwater acreages off Trinidad and Tobago and Touchstone Exploration (Trinidad) was given the Acquisition of the Year award for getting an operational licence for the Ortoire block in south-eastern Trinidad in November last year. United Kingdom upstream company LGO Energy was given the award for Upstream Development of the Year for its “robust development programme” in the Goudron oilfield which achieved production of about 2,000 barrels of oil per day in April 2015.

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