Finance Minister Colm Imbert says he expects oil prices to recover in two years. He was speaking at the Trinidad & Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce’s post budget discussion this morning.
He did not, however say what information his opinion was based on. Oil prices saw a slight boost in the U.S. yesterday due to increased demand causing the price hike. U.S. crude went up to US$46.26, a rise of 72 cents. The international benchmark, Brent, went up by US$1.20 to $49.95. Gas saw the biggest hoke of 4.39 cents.
This rise, however, was short-lived due to Saudi Arabia’s decision to cut prices again.
In an interview with Reuters in June this year, Royal Dutch Shell’s upstream international director Andy Brown said while the company expects oil to recover, it will be modest and will happen in five years, and will hover around $90 a barrel. Bob Dudley, the CEO of Shell’s rival, BP, said he expects prices to remain low for “a couple of years most certainly.”
Meanwhile, Minister Imbert says that the controversial Rapid Rail project “will not be financed the way the Pt. Fortin Highway was financed.” He added that the IDB offered to finance the project as opposed to funding it from the Consolidated Fund.
“(The) IDB does not fund projects of this nature unless they are satisfied it is sound,” he said. “We’ll share the results of our findings on our railways project the business community and with everyone.” Minister Imbert said he has found that keeping details of projects private leads to speculation and suspicion and this has informed his decision to continue a transparent manner. The Finance Minister said it is the Government’s intention to build the rail system through a private/public partnership.
The Rapid Rail project was the subject of controversy when introduced under the then Patrick Manning-led People's National Movement (PNM), with the former People's Partnership Government decrying the expense and the lack of necessity for the project. Their 2015 election campaign kept repeatedly asked of the now re-introduced proposal under a Dr Keith Rowley-led PNM, where would the money be found to finance the project.