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Trinidad’s Economy Will Expand 1.5% in 2012, Central Bank Says

Trinidad and Tobago’s economy will expand “modestly” this year as oil and gas production on the Caribbean islands recover, the central bank said.

The bank projects economic growth of 1.5 percent in 2012 and annual inflation of 5 percent. Oil and gas production should return to 2010 levels after plants complete upgrades, the bank said in a report posted on its website yesterday.

“The energy services sector is expected to rebound due mainly to increased exploration activities,” the bank said in the report.

The national economy probably shrank 1.4 percent in 2011 due to a “a drastic fall off” in energy production as a result of aging oil fields, unplanned plant shutdowns and maintenance activity, the report said.

Trinidad & Tobago Energy Minister Kevin Ramnarine, speaking Feb. 6 at The Trinidad & Tobago Energy Conference in Port of Spain, said oil output in 2011 averaged 92,000 barrels per day, though that exploration drilling will “spring to life” in 2012 after four years of decreased productivity, according to a transcript of his remarks.

Ramnarine said 15 exploration wells will be drilled in the country in 2012 and that capital expenditure in the energy sector is expected to total as much as $3 billion.

Later this month, Ramnarine also said the ministry plans a road show at month-end to Houston to meet representatives of 200 oil and gas companies that have expressed “interest in investing or in partnering with Trinidad and Tobago.”

The energy sector is the largest source of revenue for Trinidad & Tobago, according to the central bank.

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