The Caribbean island state of Trinidad and Tobago is a success story and good example of a developing country that has made the most from its oil and gas industry.
The country is among the world’s five leading exporters of natural gas and so, news about a joint oil venture between that country and Ghana is encouraging.
It is also the single largest supplier of liquid natural gas (LNG) to the US, providing two-thirds of all LNG imported into the US since 2002.
Ghana can learn from Trinidad and Tobago and derive greater benefits from its oil and gas.
In 2009 a delegation arrived from Trinidad and Tobago to explore possibilities of getting opportunities in Ghana’s nascent oil and gas industry. Officials expressed the desire to share the country’s about 50 years in the oil and gas industry with Ghana.
The delegation emphasized the need for Ghana to involve local participation in the industry.
Trinidad and Tobago is reputed for making the best out of its oil and gas industry by taking over the gas sector and commercializing it.
It is said that when the oil companies producing oil said they weren’t ready to trap and process the gas, the country said it would not allow flaring. The country quickly built infrastructure near the production site, bottled the escaping natural gas as oil was being produced, bottled it and sold.
This is a valuable lesson Ghana can learn from Trinidad and Togabo.
Trinidad and Tobago has transitioned from an oil-based economy to one based on natural gas. The country produced 115.2 million cubic meters of gas per day over the period October 2007 through April 2008 up from 111.9 million cubic meters per day over the same period in 2006-2007, according to information on the US State Department website.
About half of the country’s natural gas production is converted into liquefied natural gas (LNG) at the Atlantic LNG facility in Trinidad and exported under long-term contracts and on the spot market.
The Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, Kamla Persad-Bissessar told the media in her country last week that Ghana’s cabinet has approved "in principle" an oil and gas proposal for a joint venture between the two countries.
She indicated that her country will be using its knowledge of the petroleum industry through economic and technical co-operation with Ghana.
Ghana needs to learn from the best examples and success stories in the oil and gas industry. More importantly, looking at Ghana’s over 100 years experience with the mining industry, it is in the country’s interest to avoid pitfalls associated with the oil and gas sector.