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Bringing Science, Technology and Environmental Policy Together in Latin America

Speaking at the 2014 Latin American Forum, from left to right, is Juan Cruz Monticelli of the Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas, Neal Alleyne of the University of Trinidad and Tobago, Indra Haraksingh of the University of the West Indies and Terry Quinn of UTIG. Photo by Kerwyn Chambers

The 2014 IX Latin American Forum on Energy and the Environment was a unique event that brought together government and industry decision makers, scholars and scientists to foster dialogue around geosciences, technology and energy and environmental policy. The University of Texas at Austin’s Jackson School of Geosciences hosted the forum on March 24 in collaboration with the Ministry of Energy and Energy Affairs of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.

The theme was “Natural Gas-LNG: An Atlantic Basin Perspective” and the role it plays in the Caribbean and Latin America. Additionally the role of education, sustainability and good governance were discussed within the parameters of natural gas and liquefied natural gas (LNG).

The welcome keynote was given by Cletus Springer, director of the Washington, D.C.-based Department of Sustainable Development at the Organization of American States. He discussed avenues for strengthening the network of science and policy needed to develop sustainable energy in the Caribbean.

Foster Mellen, senior strategic analyst at Ernst & Young, provided a comprehensive outlook on the global and regional stance of natural gas and LNG, and discussed Trinidad’s role as a hub between Latin America and the Caribbean.

The forum’s keynote luncheon was presented by Trinidad and Tobago’s energy minister Kevin C. Ramnarine. Ramnarine discussed how the ministry and the local universities in Trinidad strive to advance science, technology, engineering and mathematics. He welcomed the collaboration and mutual agreements between UT-Austin, the University of the West Indies and the University of Trinidad and Tobago.

Terry Quinn, director of the Jackson School’s Institute for Geophysics, introduced and presented Ramnarine with a plaque in recognition of his dedicated service to energy education and research.

The forum was well-attended by members of the oil and gas industry, government and academia. These included representatives from BHP Billiton, BP, Petrotrin, Repsol, Trinidad and Tobago’s Ministry of Energy and Energy Affairs, The Energy Chamber of Trinidad and Tobago, Organization of American States, The National Gas Company of Trinidad and Tobago, the University of the West Indies and the University of Trinidad and Tobago.