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ENERGY Caribbean newsletter (April 2014 • Issue no. 72)

The final edition of the ENERGY Caribbean newsletter


PROFILE Anthony Ramlackhansingh Former Petrotrin geologist: deep drilling will reverse TT’s falling crude production The fall in crude oil production in Trinidad and Tobago – output averaged only 67,804 b/d up to November 2013, compared with 68,744 b/d in 2012 – really should not be happening, according to Anthony Ramlackhansingh, 60, the former Petrotrin divisional geologist, now an independent petroleum geo-consultant. Why? Because there’s more than enough available to bump that figure up considerably. For starters, there’s 800 million to 2 billion barrels of oil awaiting retrieval from existing reservoirs which are no longer producing because neither natural pressure nor pumping can bring them to the surface. Then there are around a billion barrels of heavy oil (API gravity of 18 degrees and below) which New LNG venture promises electricity price relief [ from page 1 ] the development of a new sort of gas business where there isn’t a pipeline. If you look at the Dominican Republic, they don’t produce gas but already have 13 trucking companies servicing their market with LNG as a fuel source for small industrial plants, air conditioning systems, service stations.” The inter-island ferries can also be converted to run on gas. LNG bunkering in La Brea is another possibility. “The potential is there,” Fisher says. “There is now a lot of activity around the concept of gas-fired ships. We may eventually be able to attract cruise ships to bunker with gas in Trinidad.” has never been tackled with any great enthusiasm by companies, principally because it costs more to extract. On top of all this is entirely new oil, awaiting access principally by deep drilling to about 20,000 feet or more. The three new land blocks awarded at the start of 2014 (see page 5) – Ortoire (Touchstone Energy), Rio Claro (Lease Operators) and St Mary’s (Range Resources) – are prime candidates for this, though it remains to be seen whether any of the 13 exploratory wells the three companies are contractually mandated to sink will meet the criteria. Petrotrin’s Gulf of Paria Trinmar acreage also has deep horizon prospectivity. “There is huge upside potential, greater than one billion barrels of oil equivalent on land, that requires deep drilling,” Ramlackhansingh says. “Integrated seismic and well interpretation point me to this.” He is particularly keen on the three new blocks, “which came out of work I did for Petrotrin.” Drilling deep Deep drilling, of course, is much more expensive than shallow drilling, principally because rigs are paid for by the day and it obviously takes much longer to sink a well to 20,000 feet than it does to 10,000 feet. This kind of expenditure is generally the province of the bigger companies, though none of the three block winners fall into that category. “Deeper drilling is high-risk but has great potential,” Ramlackhansingh points out. “That’s why it requires attracting the big players – but none of those presently in Trinidad and Tobago seem willing to come on shore.” These include bpTT, Chevron and BHP Billiton. Among the bigger players in Trinidad and Tobago, only BG has ventured onshore, and it was chasing gas, not oil – though its Central block does deliver close to 2,000 b/d of the light oil called condensate which comes with gas production. Ramlackhansingh, who also lectures in geosciences at the University of the West Indies (UWI), has been studying the “big picture” of Trinidad’s southern basin geology for decades, “looking at the geology along the Caribbean plate margin, with a focus on the Trinidad and Tobago area.” After obtaining a BSc honours degree in geology at the University of Manitoba in Canada, he returned home and joined the then Trinidad-Tesoro Petroleum Company, “starting out in development drilling, which was really coming up with the single-well type of in-fill location.” Big picture When Trinidad-Tesoro merged with Trintoc to become today’s Petrotrin, Ramlackhansingh moved into exploration and regional geology. “This gave me the opportunity to study the whole regional geology of eastern Venezuela and Trinidad and link up with old geology.” He helped inspire Petrotrin’s block offerings in the late 1990s, the most successful of which was the Central block which BG now operates, with Petrotrin as its joint venture partner. As a “big picture” man, he found himself in the position of being “the first person multinationals wanted to speak to when they came to Trinidad and visited Petrotrin.” He will have a lot more opportunity to do that now he is an independent consultant. He also expects to have more time for his favourite sport, lawn tennis, and for writing. “I have completed the first draft of a book on the techno-stratigraphic evolution of the greater Trinidad and Tobago area, which will give the whole history of the basin.” Ramlackhansingh and his wife have a 25-year-old son, André, a UWItrained doctor, now a house officer in the accident and emergency unit at the San Fernando General Hospital. “So, if I take ill suddenly, I know where I am going!” he grins. 12

ENERGY EFFICIENCY How Caricom is tackling inefficient energy use Energy-saving programmes in Jamaica, the OECS and Trinidad and Tobago The “zero-energy/energy-plus building”, otherwise known as a ZEB/EB, was virtually unheard of in the Caribbean until the University of the West Indies (UWI) in Jamaica announced it was teaming up with the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to create a model for the first such structure in Caricom, to be sited on the university’s campus at Mona. ZEB/EB buildings are at the cutting edge of energy efficiency, in that they create as much energy as they use. The initiative is part of UWI’s programme “Promoting Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy in Buildings”. The Jamaican prototype is expected to be ready “within the next two to three years.” This will obviously have relevance for the rest of Caricom, if it works and achieves the envisaged 40% saving on energy costs for conventional buildings. The Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), a Caricom sub-group, has launched a campaign called “Power Savers – the Power is in Your Hands”, with the less ambitious goal of reducing electricity bills by 15%. Funded by the Caribbean Development Bank, this initiative aims to educate businesses and households to “learn how to make energy-efficient improvements and manage energy costs, which can be as much as 25% of a family’s income.” In Trinidad and Tobago, home of the most flagrant energy users in Caricom, the ministry of energy and energy affairs is pursuing efficiency initiatives alongside its renewable energy programme (ENERGY Caribbean, December 2013). Minister Kevin Ramnarine offered his staff “an early Christmas present” at the end of 2013 – the opportunity to trade in two incandescent bulbs for two ministrysupplied fluorescent bulbs. 1 st Suriname international www.SurimeP.Com 1 st Suriname international mining, energy & Petroleum ConferenCe and exhibition 17 – 19 June 2014 Paramaribo republiC of Suriname organiSed by miniSterie van natuurlijke hulpbronnen gold SponSor Silver SponSorS booking ContaCtS ~ Suriname: +597 811 9338 / +597 883 8632 ~ international: +44 207 700 4949 Energy Caribbean April 2014 13

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