Economics

What Are The Major Natural Resources Of Trinidad And Tobago?

Petroleum and natural gas are important natural resources of Trinidad and Tobago.

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Trinidad and Tobago is a country comprised of the twin Islands of Trinidad and Tobago. The independent island nation is situated in the North Atlantic Ocean. Its maritime neighbors are Grenada, Barbados, Venezuela, and Guyana. Trinidad and Tobago occupy an area of 1,980 square miles. The country is home to more than 1.3 million residents. It is among the wealthiest states in North and South America. According to the World Bank, Trinidad and Tobago is a high-income country. The country’s economy is largely an industrial based economy. It has vast quantities of oil and gas reserves which are the main source of wealth in the country. Other natural resources in Trinidad and Tobago include asphalt, fertile soil, and water resources.

Natural Resources of Trinidad and Tobago

Petroleum

Trinidad and Tobago are ranked as the leading oil producer in the Caribbean region. The country began commercial extraction of petroleum in 1911. The level of production increased gradually in the years that followed. In the early 20th century, foreign investors contributed largely to the development of the petroleum industry in Trinidad and Tobago. The oil fields are mainly found in the southern region of Trinidad Island and on offshore sites. To date, more than 3 billion oil barrels have been produced since Oil production began in the country. As of 2016, about74,700 barrels of oil were produced daily. In 1977, about 228,000 barrels of oil were produced daily and the highest number ever produced per day. Petrotrin is Trinidad and Tobago’s petroleum company, which employs approximately 4,300 Trinidad and Tobago’s nationals.

Natural Gas

Trinidad and Tobago are among the world’s leading producer of natural gas. The country is home to the biggest natural gas processing units in the Western Hemisphere. Trinidad and Tobago shifted from using oil to using natural gas to run its industries. Currently, natural gas is the main energy source in the country. The natural gas is used in various sectors in the country such as electricity production and petrochemical factories. As of 2014, the country’s natural gas reserves were quite high, and it was ranked the sixth biggest liquefied natural gas exporter in the world. In recent years, the gas reserves in the Caribbean country have declined significantly. Similarly, local consumption of the product has also significantly reduced. Nonetheless, Trinidad and Tobago are still one of the greatest natural gas exporters in the world. The nation supplies natural gas to countries such as the United States, Canada, and most South American nations.

Ammonia

Trinidad and Tobago is a major producer of ammonia gas. Some of the world’s leading companies in the manufacture of ammonia are situated in Trinidad and Tobago. The Caribbean nation has 11 ammonia production plants. The production process involves combining nitrogen and hydrogen in a chemical reaction. Natural gas is a key component in the process. Ammonia is mainly used in the manufacture of Urea which is a raw material in the production of fertilizer. Ammonia is also used to make explosives, plastics, and smelling salts. Trinidad and Tobago exports its ammonia to the United States, India, and South Korea.

Iron and Steel

Iron and steel are natural resources abundantly found in Trinidad and Tobago. In the 1970s and 1980s, production of steel and iron significantly increased due to the rapid industrialization in the country. The production was mainly done by the state-owned company, Iscott (Iron and Steel Company of Trinidad and Tobago). The iron and steel produced in the twin island nation were mostly used locally. Even today, iron and steel are important components in many sectors such as the construction industry, the transport industry, and the manufacturing industry. Some of the important properties of iron and steel are that they can be put into various uses. The metals can also be altered into different components.

Asphalt

Trinidad and Tobago is home to the largest asphalt deposit in the world. It is situated at Pitch Lake. The asphalt deposits were discovered from as early as the 16th century. The asphalt mining industry is the second largest industry in Trinidad and Tobago after the petroleum industry. The government of Trinidad and Tobago operates the asphalt industry. Commercial mining began in 1815. The mineral deposit is extracted manually and mechanically using tractors. Asphalt has many uses such as an insulating component in the electrical industry, an anti-corrosive substance in natural gas pipelines, and as an adhesive in the road construction industry. Trinidad and Tobago export its asphalt to Australia, Europe, Africa, and South America. The industry employs more than 600 Trinidad and Tobago nationals.

Fertile Land

The island nation of Trinidad and Tobago is endowed with fertile land for growing various crops. Some of the crops grown in the country are rice, cocoa, coffee, vegetables, and sugar. Agriculture employs the majority of the people in the country. Additionally, it is an important source of food to the nation. Trinidad and Tobago exports cocoa, coffee, vegetables, and citrus fruits to the neighboring nations such as Jamaica, Barbados, Suriname, and the United States.

Wildlife

Trinidad and Tobago have diverse animals and plant species. Its landscape is dotted with natural forests, mangrove swamps, and savannas. The country is also endowed with mammals, reptiles, birds, and amphibians. The wildlife is an important natural resource to the country as it supports the tourism industry. Many local and foreign tourists visit Trinidad and Tobago annually mainly to sample the country’s wildlife. The tourism sector is an important income generator as it employs many people in the country.

Importance of Natural Resources in Trinidad and Tobago

Trinidad and Tobago is a high income developing country and has numerous natural resources in the country. Since the discovery and commercial production of oil in the country, its living standards have greatly improved. The resources also provide important raw materials to major industries in the country. For example, the oil and natural gas produced are used in different key sectors in Trinidad and Tobago. Natural resources such as wildlife and plants add beauty to Trinidad and Tobago’s landscape. The country is known to have magnificent beaches that attract tourists from all over the world. Lastly, the natural resources in the country provide jobs to most Trinidad and Tobago nationals. The unemployment rate in Trinidad and Tobago is one of the lowest in the Caribbean region. This low rate is attributed to an abundance of natural resources in the country.

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