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GECF Gas Symposium: Opening Remarks by the GECF Secretary General Yury P. Sentyurin

 Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago

Your Excellency the Right Honourable Dr. Keith Rowley, Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago,

Your Excellency Senator the Honourable Franklin Khan, Minister of Energy and Energy Industries, President, GECF Ministerial Meeting,


Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am completely delightfully honored to welcomed you all on behalf of the Secretariat to this wonderful location and beautiful setting of the Hyatt Regency Trinidad. I know several of you have come from far and wide to be here and join us in our efforts to have a meaningful dialogue not only about the gas sector itself, but the wider energy politics of the region.

I would like to extend a very special welcome to our keynote speaker, HE the right Hon. Dr. Keith Rowley, Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago. Thank you for your hospitality and your valuable personal support of this event.

The energy sector in the Caribbean and Latin America – as in most parts of the world – has gone through a serious transformation. Natural gas has been emerging as a key fuel of choice that ticks many boxes required to reach the Sustainable Development Goals.

Natural gas strikes the right balance between environmental sustainability and economic feasibility which has put the wheels in motion for an increase in global gas demand. This is reflected in international policy changes. The market has been witness to an incremental amount of countries in emerging as consumers, driven by the understanding of how important natural gas is to preserve national energy balances. Just as an example, the number of LNG importers is expected to grow to around 50 states by the mid-2020s. For GECF as an organisation, this is a very promising prospect, considering our member states are sitting on 70% of the global proven gas reserves.

Throughout Latin America and The Caribbean, the role of natural gas remains solid. And while certain reserves might decline, the general outlook is positive. In this respect, I would like to take the opportunity to praise the efforts of our host country and the unique way it is monetizing its resources.

I would like to stress that the GECF is especially proud to have Trinidad and Tobago as one of our founding members countries.

As leading gas producer in the Caribbean, as well as one of the most prominent in South America, Trinidad and Tobago represents an exceptional role model for other GECF states.

The country is one of the oldest and most reliable gas producers in the world, with a hydrocarbon industry that has been thriving for over 100 years. The first commercial oil production began in 1908, so I would like to congratulate our host country on its 110th anniversary!

The country possesses the unique musical instrument that can trace its origin to the oil and gas industry. I mean, found in the 1930’s from the 55 gallon infdustrial drums, the steel pan is now synonymous with caribbean culture.

Trinidad and Tobago is not only a recognised leader in LNG production, the fourth largest LNG exporter among all GECF Member Countries, but has also managed to gain a remarkable stronghold in ammonia, methanol, melamine, and specialty chemicals projects— underscoring the country’s adaptability and innovation in the hydrocarbon industry.

Trinidad and Tobago’s continues success will also be supported by strategic alliances with other GECF Member Countries, as exemplified in the recent cooperative success with Venezuela, as regards to the Hibiscus and Dragon gas fields. Collaboration is a core value at the Forum, and I would like to take this opportunity to express my congratulations to these two GECF founding members on their accomplishments.

Recent and significant discoveries in the Savannah and Macadamia exploration wells will ensure the continued success of Trinidad and Tobago’s oil and gas sector, which has set yet another example, through timely and adequate investments in the nation’s oil and gas exploration activities. Investment in the upstream sector ensures the long-term viability of Trinidad and Tobago’s gas reserves and resources, which play such an important role in ensuring prosperity for local populations.

The GECF is a global energy coalition, whose member states – through shared experiences and meaningful dialogue – are in a unique position to enhance the stability of natural gas markets. Our member states are contributing to the global LNG and pipeline gas trade by 54% and 64% respectively, exceeding the 45% of global gas production. GECF has recently upgraded its Global Gas Outlook, which focusses on long-term market developments.  One of the most promising prospects, is our projection that natural gas will be the only hydrocarbon to increase its share in the energy mix in the long run.

Obviously, we face a number of challenges. These challenges relate to energy policies, technology shifts, price volatility and the limited predictability of gas demand growth.  These issues confirm the need for an organization as GECF and urges our member countries to deepen global strategic dialogue on issues related to energy security and the long-term stability of gas supplies. As I have mentioned on a few occasions, I do believe we should see these obstacles as a challenge that in the long run will benefit the role natural gas has to play.

There are still quite a few stereotypes attached to natural gas. But this is where I see some opportunities. I think it is to a large extent the role of industry players such as ourselves to influence the image consumers have of natural gas. In the current climate of shifting towards cleaner energy sources, natural gas is not only natural but the ideal partner.And this is where particularly this region has an advantage, because especially in island communities, where there isn’t always a connection to the main grid, the availability of natural gasto provideride-through power will remain crucial.

And what is important for the future of natural is, is the image that is instilled in people’s minds and the availability of accurate information. Perception is a powerful tool. For good and for bad. For example, the majority of people would still prefer to drive a gasoline powered car over an LPG car. Not that it is safer, on the contrary, but it is what is instilled in people’s minds as the traditional option and therefore the safest bet. Part of the growth of the natural gas market will lie in how we influence this perception.

So today we are having a wonderful opportunity to talk to each other in a constructive way and share ideas that can in turn be shared with other stake holders to make the future of natural gas in this region a bright one.

I thank you all for your kind attention.

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GECF Gas Symposium: Opening Remarks by the GECF Secretary General Yury P. Sentyurin  Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago
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