Trinidad Energy Sector Contracted in First Quarter: Central Bank Report

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Above: Port of Spain

By the Caribbean Journal staff

Trinidad and Tobago’s energy sector contracted in the first quarter of 2012, according to a Mid-Year Financial Stability Report released by the country’s Central Bank.

The report pointed to lower output from British Petroleum Trinidad and Tobago, in part due to ongoing maintenance operations.

“Preliminary data indicates that domestic economic activity remained sluggish in the first quarter of 2012,” the report said. “Preliminary data from the Ministry of Energy suggests that despite a substantial uptick in exploration activity, the energy sector may have contracted slightly in the first quarter of 2012.”

Th economic environment in Trinidad continued to be “fairly sluggish,” according to the report, which estimated a 2.6 percent decline in GDP in the third and fourth quarters of 2011, and a 1.4 percent drop for 2011 as a whole.

Much of the decline came from lower output in the energy sector, the report said.

Crude oil production fell by 13.8 percent compared to the first quarter of 2011, according to the report, while natural gas output stayed relatively flat.

“As a result, activity in the refining sub-sector is estimated to have slowed,” the report said.

Non-energy sector activity, particularly in the construction and manufacturing sectors, was negatively impacted by industrial action at Trinidad Cement Limited, according to the report.

Headline inflation also reached double digits in the first quarter of 2012, according to the data.