Former energy minister Kevin Ramnarine has hit back at Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley denying that he lied to the nation about the curtailment of natural gas between 2011 and 2014.
At a meeting in Siparia on Thursday, Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley told supporters at Thick Village Community Centre that Ramnarine, during his tenure as the energy minister, had lied to the population.
Rowley said, "There were two ministers of energy under the UNC, one Kevin Ramnarine who lied to this country and told us that the calamity that we were facing about a shortage of gas was temporary because platforms were being maintained and when the platform maintenance was done we’ll go back to 4.2 billion cubics..."
Insisting that there is documentary proof that the maintenance programme took place, Ramnarine in a telephone interview said, “What I heard is what has been repeated ad nauseam by the prime minister and the ministers for the last four years and it is their misunderstanding of the energy sector that has led to that conclusion.”
“The public record contains numerous references that demonstrate that there was a planned maintenance programme by the multinationals that ran between 2011 and 2014.
“The major actor in that maintenance programme was BPTT. It is a well-recorded fact that there was this maintenance programme and it did impact the country's natural gas production.
This was reflected in the central bank reports, in the IMF reports, in the oil and gas journal and in speeches by the former president of BPTT Norman Christie.”
However, he said there was another issue at that time, a declining production of mature natural gas reservoirs. “And it is for that reason that we sought to incentivize the upstream companies so that they will invest in major natural gas projects.”
The Prime Minister also criticize that policy initiative at the meeting in Siparia.
Ramnarine, however, said, “I would like the public to know that had we not done that, the country's natural gas production position in 2018 and 2019 would be must worse than it is now and we would have much more plant closures than what we are currently experiencing.
So that the story of natural gas production from 2010 to 2019 must be told in a holistic fashion.”
Ramnarine said he had no reason to lie.
“And if I lied then the IMF lied, Central bank lied, the international media lied, BPTT lied, all of them were saying the same things at the same time.” He said the prime minister was trying to distort and change the narrative.