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BP to make $1bn legacy payment
A recent meeting between BP and a T&T delegation led by Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley in London could see a billion dollar transfer into the country’s coffers.
The discussion over fiscal matters related to the extraction of gas had been under negotiation for some time, Rowley said yesterday as he gave an update on the outcome of talks with energy companies in the UK following his CHOGM meeting in London.
The meeting was a continuation of the conversations between the Government and high-level executives of the major energy companies operating locally to discuss the governing principles for discussions and negotiations going forward.
The Government’s delegation included Rowley, Energy Minister Franklin Khan and Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister Stuart Young.
Rowley acknowledged they had weaknesses in the Energy Ministry with respect to sitting around the table with the oil companies.
What the Government did, Rowley said, was hire an expert law firm, White and Case from New York, to help guide them with gas negotiations.
“In the next few days we expect to sign off on an agreement where BP would pay Trinidad and Tobago upwards of a $1 billion in these legacy matters which we have made claim of,” Rowley said at the post-Cabinet media briefing at the Diplomatic Centre.
However, BP was quick to point out that T&T owes them over $US$100 million in VAT payments. But Rowley said BP has also agreed to a payment arrangement on this.
“So VAT is paid over a period of time and that is why it was important to say we got an agreement from the oil company to work out some manageable arrangement for the VAT refunds. We don’t want the VAT refunds to cancel out the payments of the debt,” Rowley said.
At the recent Spotlight on Energy, where Rowley was the featured speaker, the Prime Minister had complained the country was not receiving its fair share from energy companies.
Yesterday, the PM said they have also successfully engaged global oil and gas giant Shell on this matter. Shell has indicated a desire to work with the Government and other shareholders at Atlantic LNG and to increase Government’s revenue stream, he said.
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