Facilitating Growth in LIC Sector

Facilitating Growth in Light Industrial Commercial Sector (LIC).

Facilitating Growth in Light Industrial Commercial Sector (LIC)

The LIC sector consumes 11.0 MMscf/d or 1.2% of the NGC’s total production, which is small in comparison to the petrochemical sector but which represents over 110 small customers. In compliance with Government’s desire to facilitate growth in the sector and increase competitiveness of local manufacturers, the company has reduced the price of gas to the sector and has agreed to contribute 50% of the value of the reduction to an industry fund.

The fund can be accessed to undertake such activities as technical and market studies, training and audits to improve energy efficiency. NGC, the Trinidad and Tobago Manufacturers’ Association and the Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries will jointly administer the fund.

Several distribution pipelines for the LIC sector have been undertaken and are in varying stages of completion. An 8-inch-diameter, 6-kilometre low pressure pipeline extension for Diego Martin’s Diamond Vale Industrial Estate; a 6-inch-diameter 3-kilometre spur will link Tamana Park to the existing 6-inch-diameter pipeline at Wallerfield; and a 6-inch-diameter low pressure pipeline network will meet consumer demands on the Otaheite Industrial Estate, Gulf City, Chancery, San Fernando and environs. It is also proposed to expand and develop a number of low pressure distribution networks to supply the new eTecK industrial estates and some of their existing developments.

The Cove Industrial Estate in Tobago will require 15 MMscf/d, primarily for power generation and light industries.

Gas Cooling Programme

The use of natural gas in cooling systems offers many advantages which NGC’s Build, Own, Operate & Transfer (BOOT) Programme is promoting. Natural gas is an efficient energy source and provides the customer with lower operating costs compared to electrically- driven systems. A major disadvantage of gas cooling is that the capital cost is generally higher than that of electric systems. NGC’s BOOT Programme goes one step further by helping offset the high capital investment thus providing an attractive option for selection of such systems where the operating costs can be offset by 20% to 60% savings over the equipment’s 25-year life cycle.

A critical challenge for NGC is its ability to provide service supply connections on a timely basis in the LIC sector. This is due to several factors, many of which are external and involve lengthy approval processes for permits and ROW access in expanding the low pressure distribution network, particularly through developed areas. The rapid growth in the natural gas industry has been unmatched by the output of suitably skilled personnel, and competition for experienced people is keen in the sector. The greatest challenge is to attract and retain skilled and competent employees.

In less than 20 years, Trinidad and Tobago has been able to create one of the world’s most diversified natural gas economies. The thrust of Government in the next phase of the country’s industrial development is towards a more robust downstream industry that focuses on projects that will go beyond first-level gas conversion, as well as further LNG expansions. There is no doubt that the next development phase will be demanding; it may even prove to be more challenging. In light of its growing responsibility beyond the domestic natural gas trade, NGC will continue to play a critically important role in further transforming the natural gas sector and contributing to the buoyancy of the country’s energy-based economy.