To Make Publicly Available the Cadastre of Licenses and Contracts for the Exploration and Production of Oil and Gas in Trinidad and Tobago (TT0012)
To make publicly available, via the website of the Ministry of Energy and Energy Affairs, the cadastre of licences and contracts for exploration and production of oil and gas resources in Trinidad and Tobago.
IRM End of Term Status Summary
4.2 Open Public Access to Licences and Contracts for Oil and Gas Exploration
Commitment Text: To make publicly available, via the website of the Ministry of Energy and Energy Affairs, the cadastre of licences and contracts for exploration and production of oil and gas resources in Trinidad and Tobago.
Responsible Institution: Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries (MEEI)
Supporting Institutions: Multi-stakeholder group Trinidad and Tobago Extractives Industries Transparency Initiative (TTEITI), TTEITI secretariat
Start Date: September 2014 End Date: November 2014
This commitment focuses on access to information by creating more transparency concerning oil and gas contracts, as well as licences negotiated and entered into by the government. Traditionally, the government had not published information related to licences and contracts negotiated with the oil and gas sector.
Prior to the OGP action plan, information on private organisations’ licences and contracts to explore natural resources in Trinidad and Tobago was not universally available. In April 2014, the MEEI added a licence register section to its website. It contains three data sets on oil and gas contract holders, petroleum sublicences, and quarry holders from 2010 to 2013.[Note 48: “License Registers,” Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries, Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, http://bit.ly/1RGNnBD. ] It appears this commitment intends to clarify, update, and improve the information currently available through the register.
Midterm: Not started
The TTEITI representative stated that the Ministry of Energy and Energy Affairs (since named the Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries) made information publicly available, citing a circular in 2013 that included all petroleum companies’ reporting requirements.[Note 49: Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries, Circular to All Petroleum Companies Operating in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago: Information Requirements of the Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries,” 18 December 2013, http://bit.ly/1RXnjon. ] However, at the time of the midterm evaluation, the information on the cadastre of licences and contracts had not been updated since April 2014.[Note 50: “License Registers,” http://bit.ly/1Mf7mpl. ] For further information, please see the midterm IRM evaluation report.[Note 51: Open Government Partnership, Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM): Trinidad and Tobago progress report 2014–2015, http://www.opengovpartnership.org/sites/default/files/TrinidadTobago_14-15_Final_0.pdf. ]
End of term: Limited
Since the midterm progress report, the licence register has not been updated. According to a TTEITI representative, the current register covers 2011 and does not have information on newly assigned prospecting and exploration energy blocks. At the time of the writing of this report, the TTEITI was pressing the government to update the current register and include new energy blocks by November 2016.
No contract information has been posted to the MEEI website. This lack of data has been confirmed by TTEITI representatives, who state that only a contract template or model contract has been posted on the website.[Note 52: Contract template available at: http://bit.ly/2sUJZS5. ] Further, the TTEITI notes in its 2015 report.[Note 53: Trinidad and Tobago Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative Report 2014 and 2015:
Connecting Citizens with the Country’s Energy Resources, http://bit.ly/2tShJga. ] that, based on the legal opinion received by the MEEI, contracts are confidential documents, according to section 35 of the Petroleum Act, and are exempted from public disclosure. The legal advice to the MEEI also states that the model Exploration and Production (E&P) Licence currently on its website would also include the full text of the general terms and conditions of a typical E&P contract.[Note 54: Trinidad and Tobago Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative Steering Committee, Trinidad and Tobago EITI Report 2014, 2015, 88, http://www.tteiti.org.tt/wp-content/uploads/Trinidad-and-Tobago-EITI-Report-Sept-30-2015.pdf.%5D
Did it open government?
Access to information: Marginal
The oil and gas sector composes upward of 43 percent of the Trinidad and Tobago GDP.[Note 55: “Trinidad and Tobago Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative,” https://eiti.org/implementing_country/21. ] However, access to information related to the award, nature, and terms of contracts—along with identifying territories allocated to prospecting and exploration—are not made public and are not up to date.
Besides the posting of the model Exploration and Production contract on the MEEI website, there was no change in the information provided online concerning the register of licences. One of the TTEITI representatives interviewed, stated that this commitment opens government marginally since, in the past, the government did not disclose any templates of contracts.[Note 56: Interview conducted on 28 September 2016.] It was noted that while the template did not have any information related to actual contracts, it can be used by analysts or academics to review the areas negotiated and how terms and conditions are explained. This commitment could change government practise concerning releasing energy-related information to the public.
The development of the next iteration of the national action plan has not yet started. Consultations are also outstanding. The IRM researcher recommends that this commitment be carried forward into the new action plan and that it include a public accountability mechanism.
Trinidad and Tobago's Commitments
To Certify Public Agencies’ Service Quality
TT0001, 2014, Capacity Building
To Develop Human Resources Management Capacity in the Public Service
TT0002, 2014, Capacity Building
To Conduct a Pilot Project for the Development and Introduction of a “Easier Life for Citizens” Index
TT0003, 2014, Public Service Delivery
To Develop Interactive Media on Government Business Processes and Programs to Better Access Government Services
TT0004, 2014, Public Service Delivery
To Establish a Contact Centre to Address the Needs of National Scholars (Local and International) of Trinidad and Tobago
TT0005, 2014, Education
To Adopt a Policy on Data Standards and Classification Frameworks
TT0006, 2014, Open Data
To Increase the Number of Publicly Accessible Government Datasets in Open Formats
TT0007, 2014, Open Data
To Conduct a Diagnostic Review of Public Information Needs
TT0008, 2014, Open Data
To Create an Easily Accessible Open Government Portal , with a Platform/Repository for Open Data, as Well as an Interface to Allow for Feedback from the Public
TT0009, 2014, Open Data
To Create a Civil Society Board
TT0010, 2014, Public Participation
To Audit the Accounts of the Ministry of Energy and Energy Affairs to International Standards
TT0011, 2014, Audits and Controls
To Make Publicly Available the Cadastre of Licenses and Contracts for the Exploration and Production of Oil and Gas in Trinidad and Tobago
TT0012, 2014, E-Government
To Include the Mineral Sector (Starting with National Quarries Company Ltd) in the TTEITI Reporting Mechanism
TT0013, 2014, E-Government