Trinidad Plans LNG Hub to Help Caribbean Wean Off Oil

PORT OF SPAIN (Reuters) - Trinidad and Tobago's state-owned gas company has started work on designing a small-scale LNG hub that could help the Caribbean move away from oil-based power generation, the firm told Reuters.

Trinidad is Latin America's largest LNG exporter and the project, expected to be operational by 2025, will have a handling capacity of up to 500,000 tonnes a year, National Gas Company (NGC) said. The facility, capable of storing, handling and shipping LNG for the region, is intended to be scalable to allow expansion as demand rises.

"The project is intended to support the regional shift in the energy mix to a lower-carbon and lower-emission molecule chain," NGC said in a statement to Reuters on Wednesday.

Most of the Caribbean is reliant on refined products including fuel oil and diesel for power generation.

Trinidad's Energy Minister Stuart Young said last week that the Caribbean country planned to boost LNG exports to its neighbors for power generation and petrochemicals but added that more natural gas is needed for it to significantly contribute to global supplies.

Trinidad and Tobago and Peru are the only Latin American exporters of LNG.

LNG producers in Trinidad have ramped up supplies to Europe this year amid buoyant demand and high prices.

NGC owns 11% of the fourth liquefaction train of Trinidad's flagship Atlantic LNG project, and 10% of the first train, which has been idled since late 2020 due to a lack of gas supply.

LNG to be handled by the plant will be sourced from the Atlantic LNG project. NGC said it will continue selling the fuel to customers in other regions and will evaluate the feasibility of LNG shipments via ISO containers that can be loaded onto feeder ships, or via small LNG carriers if economical.

For shipments via LNG carriers, regasification terminals will be required at destinations.

(Reporting by Curtis Williams; Editing by Susan Fenton)

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