Minister of Energy and Energy Industries and Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister, the Honourable Stuart R. Young, M.P. hereby confirms that on October 17, 2023 the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the Department of Treasury of the United States Government issued a license amendment to the Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago (GORTT) based upon requests made by GORTT dated March 8, 2023 and September 15, 2023 with respect to, inter alia, the development of the Dragon gas field.
This OFAC license amendment is specific to GORTT and the National Gas Company of Trinidad and Tobago Limited (NGC) and is for the benefit of GORTT, NGC, Shell plc and their subsidiaries, affiliates and contractors to pursue, inter alia, the planning, financing, development, execution and management of the Dragon gas field.
The license amendment granted to GORTT expires on October 31, 2025 and amongst other things, permits GORTT to negotiate with the Government of Venezuela and PDVSA to obtain exploration and production licences to extract natural gas, to operate the Dragon field and to make various payments associated with such a project including, taxes, royalties, fees and lease bonus payments.
The said amendment further authorizes GORTT, NGC and Shell plc to make payments to the Government of Venezuela in fiat currency, including US dollars or bolivars.
The Minister advises that the OFAC license granted to GORTT is specific and separate to the general license that was issued by OFAC on October 18, 2023 relating to Venezuela that expires on April 18, 2024. That general OFAC license no. 44 does not affect the work being undertaken by GORTT and the Government of Venezuela to produce and export the gas from the Dragon gas field to Trinidad and Tobago.
The Ministry cautions against misleading and false information from individuals who have no knowledge and information with respect to the work being undertaken by GORTT along with the Government of Venezuela for the Dragon project, nor any knowledge and information with respect to the discussions and negotiations that have taken place between GORTT and the Government of the United States, who are now seeking to mislead and create doubt by referring to the said general OFAC license no. 44 issued on October 18, 2023 which expires on April 18, 2024.
As announced by Minister Young on October 17, 2023 it is expected that a Trinidad and Tobago delegation led by Minister Young, will travel to Caracas, Venezuela in the coming weeks to complete negotiations with the Government of Venezuela with respect to the Dragon gas project.