I have returned to Trinidad and Tobago for the holidays and for the past two weeks have not been able to blog much due to the really bad Internet connection at my parents’ house. This twin island republic is perhaps the wealthiest island nation in the Caribbean due to the geological proximity to Venezuela. The local economy is almost completely driven by fossil fuels, however according to Colin Campbell, production of crude oil peaked two decades ago and prosperity is becoming increasingly dependent on natural gas related exports. Stories in local newspapers reflect this. The parliament has been debating gas deals for proposed aluminium smelting plants. Prime Minister, Patrick Manning, toured a natural gas facility last week declaring that there are a lot of reserves to be found in decades to come. However, the big multinational corporations seem reluctant to explore the deep waters east of the island. When exploration rights of 8 deep water blocks, each of 80,000 hectares in size, were put up for auction, only Statoil placed a bid for one of the blocks. Apparently 12 corporations invested in a 2D seismic survey of the deep water areas of interest but later complained the quality of the scan was poor. Statoil bid for a block adjacent to one in Venezuelan waters where gas had been found recently. Such is the risk averse nature of deep water exploration.