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Saturday 20 January 2018

100% tax allowance for seismic blasts

THE EDITOR: The Minister of Energy is quoted as saying that “the foreign direct investment (FDI) during the period 2010-12 has increased from US$549 million to US$2.5 billion”.

The minister is also quoted to have said that the increased exploration and production related activity was a result of changes in the fiscal regime.

What the minister does not say is that the regime was changed by creating a tax allowance for energy exploration investment from ten percent to a whooping 100 percent. This was never reported in the local press. We only found out by reading the Australian Daily Mail.

What this means is that we the people, are now paying the cost of energy exploration for foreign multinationals through a full 100 percent tax allowance. The Minister of Energy also keeps the big oil/gas companies happy by freeing them from any environmental safeguards/obligations.

The impact of tens of thousands of seismic air gun blasts/explosions, central to the exploration activities which impact negatively on marine life is of no importance to the Minister of Energy. Only the poor and those dependent on the sea for a livelihood will pay the long-term and possibly irreversible cost of this damage to our marine environment.

It is outrageous that foreign oil companies such as the United States’ BHP Billiton and UK’s flagship British Petroleum, who know fully well that in their home nations exploration is regulated, should be boasting to the international press that TT’s “new energy frontier” is “unique” and “very exciting”, and “capable of becoming the petroleum divisions third core area” beside the US and Australia.

Presently BP and BHP Billiton have approvals to conduct 12 months of seismic air gun blasts/explosions on the north east of Trinidad and on the north east of Tobago.

These seismic discharges will occur concurrently with the seismic blasts of Petrotrin in the Gulf, so the fish that escape Petrotrin’s blasts will be chased from the Gulf, chased off the north and then chased from Tobago. 2014 and onwards will be a starvation time for all of our nation’s fishers.

It is clear that the socio economic impact is of no concern to our elected leaders and this must stop. FFOS have last week written to the CEO of BHP Billiton and bpTT requesting they work together with fisherfolk to collect baseline data on the fish catch before, during and after their seismic surveys. This would be consistent with the regulations which they are already fully aware of and exists elsewhere, but regretfully we have to date had no response from either.

Terrence Beddoe


Gary Aboud



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