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Management of Energy Resources for National Development –Looking at the Trinidad & Tobago Model


The unpublished essay that follows was prepared in 2005, to help inform the ongoing discussion in Trinidad and Tobago (T&T) on how to best use the development of recently discovered, large natural gas fields for national sustainable development. Although issues in T&T have progressed since, the context then is familiar to countries where oil and natural gas are being discovered in abundance) as is the case in Africa, so the original essay is produced intact, in the hope that it might help with ongoing discussions in new producer countries. However, we have added a brief epilogue to illustrate how some of the recommendations were either implemented or not, along with and some of the consequences. These examples are very limited, as this is not the primary intent of this chapter.

The purpose of the Chapter is to illustrate how lessons learnt from one boom in production and prices in an extractive industry within a single location might be applied to a second such boom, in just over 25 years, in that same industry and location, to increase the benefits from the extracted resource and support sustainable development. Given the nature of the extractives industry and the state of development of T&T at the time of the report, the findings and recommendations might be applied to other resource rich countries that are experiencing similar booms at this time. With luck, these new producers, learning from the lessons of T&T, and others will be able, not just to emulate T&T, but to surpass it in the level of value retention from the resources and in creating sustainable economies.

This essay built on previous work done by Anthony E. Paul and which is included in the Vision 2020 for the T&T Energy sector (2004), some of which was subsequently included in the National Development Plan for T&T (2007). We have added a brief Epilogue with select examples of the current state of T&T, looking at instances of the application and non-application of the recommended initiatives made in the essay and some of the outcomes.

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