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Tough Talk

Sep 1, 2011

Trinidad’s tough-talking energy minister is powering change in the vital energy sector. Can he bolster production levels and help the sluggish economy?

By Sean Mattson

The Caribbean's top-rated sovereign is really the tale of two countries. After smartly stashing energy windfalls, Trinidad and Tobago was able to weather the global economic crisis, but it now faces sluggish growth as it struggles to diversify its energy-based economy, stem a crime wave and bring greater transparency to government.

Key to bolstering economic growth will be the government's ability to get the energy sector back on its feet after watching oil output slip to 100,000 barrels per day, the lowest level seen in 54 years.

"The new minister of energy has been pushing to get further investment…in deep drilling, which is capital intensive, but the country will need to find new oil and gas," says Suresh Maharaj, Citi's managing director for its corporate and investment bank business in the Caribbean and Central America....

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