Trinidad and Tobago - Industry



Long-established industries are those processing raw materials of the farm, forest and sea; foremost are sugar, molasses, and rum, followed by fish, lumber, fats and oils, and stock feed. Manufacturing products include matches, angostura bitters, soap, and confectionery and clay products. Newer industries include petroleum refining, petrochemicals, concrete products, canned citrus, bottled drinks, glass, drugs, chemicals, clothing, building materials, and metal goods.

The most important industrial center is found at the port at Point Lisas. Many new industrial plants have been established under the benefits of the country's New Companies Act (1997). The manufacturing sector has contributed a substantial share of GDP since the 1970s. After the establishment of the free zone program in 1993, manufacturing investment soared. Caroni Inc., the government-owned sugar company and the largest employer on Trinidad, undertook a major revitalization project in 1998.

As of 2002, the natural gas sector was expanding, with huge discoveries adding to the country's 80 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) gas base. The Atlantic LNG plant was due to expand over a four year period, creating the largest single and sustained increment in growth in the country. Due to a decrease in drilling activities and the maturation of existing wells, the petroleum sector registered sharp declines during the 1990s. The government attempted to increase oil exploration and production by giving contracts to US companies. One of the most ambitious projects was the $935 million Atlantic LNG plant, in which the US's Amoco had the largest stake, of 34%, and another US company, Cabot, had a 10% share. The other foreign participants were British Gas (26%) and Spain's Repsol (10%). The petroleum sector, which more than doubled its growth rate to 1.8% in 1996, fell by 1.1% in 1997 due to a continuation of declining oil production. Rising prices in the early 2000s caused the petroleum sector to remain stable, however. Diversification of the petrochemicals industry and investments in other heavy industry and manufacturing may broaden the export base; but hydrocarbons will continue to provide at least 25% of foreign exchange earnings. Trinidad and Tobago's sole oil refinery had a production capacity of 160,000 barrels per day in 2002.

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