Trinidad and Tobago Signs Preliminary Energy Agreement with Suriname

(Reuters) — Suriname said on Thursday it signed a memorandum of understanding with Trinidad and Tobago that aims to increase energy cooperation, and people familiar with the matter said it could lead to natural gas from Suriname being piped to Trinidad and Tobago.

Trinidad and Tobago has been searching for ways to expand its natural gas supplies. The Caribbean nation can process some 4.2 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) of gas into LNG and petrochemicals, but its current output is less than 2.7 Bcf/d, according to government statistics.

Suriname President Chandrikapersad Santokhi met on Thursday with Trinidad Prime Minister Keith Rowley in Port of Spain, the Suriname government said, with the countries signing the memorandum of understanding.

The two countries will now move to establish technical teams to conduct feasibility studies to determine the way forward, the prime minister's office of Trinidad and Tobago said in a release.

Suriname soon will host a meeting with Guyana and Trinidad to pursue strategic cooperation between the three countries, the government added.

The agreement is preliminary, and the people familiar with the matter said it will involve a study into the possibility of building a pipeline hundreds of miles below the ocean to link Trinidad to the South American nation's gas fields.

Suriname and Guyana have made major oil and gas discoveries in recent years, and Trinidad and Tobago has been trying to get access to new gas supplies to reactivate an idle LNG processing unit and to run its petrochemical plants at full capacity.

Trinidad and Tobago has requested U.S. government allow it to amend financial terms of a January license authorizing the joint development of a promising offshore gas field with Venezuela, Energy Minister Stuart Young has said.

The two-year authorization enabled Trinidad and companies including Venezuela's state-run oil firm PDVSA and oil major Shell to revive a dormant offshore project that could help Trinidad boost gas processing and exports to its neighbors.

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