Khan vex with the media …”BUT PRICES KEPT A SECRET”

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Franklin Khan is insisting that the negotiated gas arrangement prices have always been kept secret.

Khan, the Minister of Energy, called a press conference on Sunday to say the gas deal with Venezuela cannot be disclosed, and that the Dragon Field deal was a “marriage made in heaven”.

He added, “No government, past or present, UNC or PNM has ever made known to the public any negotiated price of gas.”

Government is keeping the details of the deal close to their chest, but Khan is assuring that the pricing structure agreed to was competitive and followed “months of negotiation, serious intervention, serious sharing of information and serious sharing of economic models, to come up with an appropriate gas price”.

Khan added, “It is no cheap gas. It is competitively priced gas and is obviously no secret Dragon deal.”

Khan said Venezuela has the largest oil reserves in the world, larger than Saudi Arabia, Russia and the United States and has the fifth largest gas reserves in the world, which this country can benefit from.

“It’s a win-win situation, especially since we in Trinidad face challenges on the supply side. This provides an ideal opportunity for Trinidad and Venezuela. If I can say so, I think it is a marriage made in heaven.”

Khan said he took “umbrage” with the way the media reported on the deal signed in Caracas on Saturday. He dismissed a report in the Guardian newspaper that under the deal the Government would be buying the gas at a mere US$1 per MMBTU.

Khan said that was simply trying to create mischief by telegraphing to the Venezuelan people that the government was selling “cheap gas to Trinidad and Tobago”. However, he said the price being paid was substantially more.

He said it was widely known in the energy sector that “the commercial terms of gas sales agreement are subject to the strictest confidentiality clauses”. He said he could not even answer a question in the Parliament on pricing when asked some time ago, because of the confidentiality clause.

Rowley did, however, reveal that under the agreement the volume of gas to be provided will be 150 million cubic standard feet per day with an option to go to 300 million standard cubic feet per day.

Khan was also vex with the Sunday Express for saying it was a secret deal.

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