Can you compare some of the trends and regulations in Trinidad and Tobago to those you have seen in West Africa and the Middle East?

Trinidad and Tobago benefits from having a more developed marketplace, regulations, and business expertise due to the fact that the oil and gas industry has been present for over 100 years. This is unlike some countries in West Africa that have only recently discovered oil reserves. Trinidad and Tobago has a general understanding of the need for compliance and regulation, as evidenced by surveys that show no need for facilitation payments to expedite services. This puts Trinidad and Tobago on par with North American and European markets.

How does Trinidad and Tobago rank in terms of its attractiveness to investors? What are some of the challenges of operating here?

Trinidad and Tobago has traditionally ranked fairly low in terms of its competitiveness for doing business. This is largely due to perception, as little is known about Trinidad and Tobago. The country needs to promote itself and change perceptions by highlighting that it is a relatively straightforward country to operate in. While taxation and regulations are not too difficult to understand, labor issues present a challenge for investors. Trinidad and Tobago has a tradition of strong union activity, which can make it difficult for businesses to achieve desired results. This has impacted investor interest. Furthermore, tax holiday regulations have not kept up with the evolving industry.

Do you believe there is a disconnect between the financial sector and the oil and gas industry?

The problem lies with the size of projects in the middle market. Banks in Trinidad do not seem to have the kind of focus on the industry that banks in other oil and gas economies have developed.

Can you please share your thoughts on the 2013 budget?

The 2013 budget was a “tinkering” budget, as there were no real substantial changes made between this and the previous budget. The budget needs more drastic changes to make the country a more attractive environment for both multinational and local companies. Harmonizing the SPT and lifting the petroleum subsidy were just small steps in the right direction.

Of the services which KPMG Energy Services team offers, which are seeing the most demand? Could you please provide some more details about the carbon monitoring services you are planning on offering?

KPMG Energy Services has seen increasing demand for carbon monitoring services, as well as assistance in the organizational and internal audit sector. Larger companies and banks are also demanding peer review services. KPMG Energy Services is planning on offering carbon monitoring services that will assist companies in measuring their carbon emissions, which will become increasingly important as carbon markets develop globally.

In your experience, what are some of the lessons that you have taken away from Trinidad and Tobago’s industry?

The Point Lisas model is a significant success story of the industry in Trinidad and Tobago. Many countries are looking to apply the Point Lisas model elsewhere, particularly in Africa.

Do you have any other comments on the industry in Trinidad and Tobago?

The oil and gas fields in Trinidad and Tobago have gone through separate developments over the years. There has been a lot of talk over the past few years about the absence of new drilling, which has resulted in no new discoveries and a decline in production levels. Trinidad and Tobago has proven reserves of close to 13 trillion barrels, but few reserves have been discovered in recent years. However, the expected activity for 2013 suggests that Trinidad and Tobago might be able to successfully emerge from this declining trend. While oil has been on a steady decline of production for the last 15-20 years, there are positive developments on the horizon, such as new drilling and increasing gas prices.

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