The United States has made a change to the joint development permit for an offshore gas project with Venezuela at the request of the Trinidad and Tobago government, Trinidad and Tobago Energy Minister Stuart Young said on Tuesday.
Young said the change would allow payments in hard currency or in kind to be made to Venezuela for gas supplied by state oil company PDVSA.
The Dragon field, located in Venezuelan waters near the maritime border with Trinidad, contains up to 4.2 trillion cubic feet of gas. Trinidad needs the fuel to boost its liquefied natural gas and petrochemical industries, and Venezuela hopes to get a cash flow from gas exports.
“(The change) allows us to make payments in fiat currency, as well as in US dollars and bolivars and through humanitarian measures,” Young said of the changes to the license, which the US Treasury Department issued in January.
The license changes also extend the time from the original two years to two years and 10 months, with a new expiration date of Oct. 31, 2025, Young said.
The change also allows Shell, which will manage the Dragon project, and Trinidad’s National Gas Company to negotiate whatever is needed to bring Venezuelan gas to Trinidad, Young said during a press conference, paving the way for talks on other potential gas sources from Venezuela.
Trinidad has the capacity to produce more liquefied natural gas and petrochemicals. All it takes is access to additional supplies, Young said.
The Venezuelan government and the opposition signed a detailed agreement in Barbados on Tuesday on the conditions for holding presidential elections in the second half of 2024, including the free participation of all candidates and international monitoring. The agreement could open the doors to further easing of sanctions by the United States. (Reporting by Curtis Williams and Mariana Parraja in Houston; Editing by Lisa Shoemaker)
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