Time To Move Past Oil And Gas

Time To Move Past Oil And Gas

Trinidad and Tobago continues to be stuck in the “oil mentality” despite repeated signs and warnings that it’s time to move on. For decades, oil has been the juggernaut of the world economy. It is one of the most in demand products across the globe. Petroleum is used to make a range of products from pharmaceuticals to plastics, while gas is the most widely used of all energy sources. Together, oil and gas have singlehandedly built national economies, ours included.

Trinidad was never one of the in-demand colonies in the early days of Europe in the Caribbean. When it entered the energy game about 100 years ago though, the economy was revitalized. Today, T&T is the largest oil and natural gas producer in the Caribbean. We also use a good bit of what we produce, to the point where certain other sectors are dependent on oil and gas. For example, the electricity sector is fuelled entirely by natural gas. Our transportation system also depends on it.

For years, terms like “diversification” and “renewable energy” have been thrown about, only to land in a dusty, obscure corner. Nothing is being done to shift away from the energy sector. In fact, former Petrotrin President Andrew Jupiter was recently quoted as saying that “oil is here to stay for a long time”. While it is true that the reserves are sound for now, one cannot forget that a transition to renewable energy and economic diversification will take time.

And it is difficult to fathom why our little country with its small energy stake remains so complacent, when the biggest oil economy in the world has realized that the time has come to look beyond the sector. This week, Saudi Arabia announced plans to turn a huge part of its pristine Red Sea coastline into a luxury beach resort. The plans are part of “Vision 2030”, which is Saudi Arabia’s long-term blueprint for weaning itself off its reliance on oil revenue. Saudi Arabia currently has the second largest oil reserves in the entire world, and even it recognizes that there must be a backup plan for the economy. What are WE waiting for?

Web Master

August 3rd, 2017

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