8 months ago

The Trinidad & Tobago Business Guide (TTBG, 2009-10)


42 TTBG 09/10

Table 16 Oil reserves Million barrels, January 2008 Proven 621 Probable 404.6 Possible 1,688 Total 2,713.6 Source: ENERGY Caribbean/Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries Frank Look Kin, past president of the National Gas Company Gas production in Trinidad and Tobago was down to about 2.9 billion cubic feet a day (bn cfd) in the second half of 2008, compared with an average of 3.6 bn cfd in 2007. With TT$60 out of every TT$100 in public sector income coming from gas, such a decline is probably an even greater reason for concern than the situation with oil. The government has already calculated that the drop in oil and gas income will cost the treasury around TT$6 billion, out of a budgeted expenditure of TT$49.4 billion for fiscal year 2008-2009, and has moved to trim its planned capital programme accordingly. Exploration But, as Mr Look Kin himself emphasises, “gas trading is not a short-term business; we have to look 15-20 years down the line, “Gas trading is not a shortterm business; we have to look 15-20 years down the line, because that is the length of our contracts” because that is the length of our contracts.” The same is true for oil and, in both areas, Trinidad and Tobago will resolutely continue, and will probably increase, its efforts to find new sources of the two hydrocarbons in 2009 through a vigorous exploration programme. Two initiatives towards this end were launched before the end of 2008: Canadian Voyager Energy’s 2D and 3D seismic acquisition and drilling of four wells in the Central Range Shallow and Central Range Deep blocks (this was the first productionsharing contract for onshore acreage ever negotiated between the energy ministry and a petroleum operator); and ONGC Mittal Energy Ltd.’s 3D seismic and 5-well drilling programme in the offshore North Coast Marine Area (NCMA) 2 block. Six more such PSCs were due to be signed off in early 2009, relating to the offshore 2ab and TTDAA 5 blocks (the latter in ultra-deep water) and the onshore South West Peninsula Shallow, South West Peninsula Deep, Guayaguayare Shallow and Guayaguayare Deep blocks, which will involve the acquisition of yet more 3D seismic and the sinking of at least eleven exploratory wells. If recent experience is any guide, several of these efforts should produce positive results. After all, two separate new gas discoveries were made in 2008, following extensive drilling programmes by Canadian Superior Energy in block 5c, off Trinidad’s southeast coast, and by Petro-Canada in block 22 off the north coast. These discoveries, according to an announcement by Senator Conrad Enill, the minister of energy and energy industries, amounted to around 4.5 tcf of gas resources, which could easily satisfy the requirements of a 3.3 million tonne-peryear LNG train for 20 years, even if only a portion is actually retrievable. Reserves These finds should be bracketed with the good news in 2008 from US consultants Ryder Scott that the 1.3 tcf of proven gas reserves that Trinidad and Tobago uses up every year (this would have been slightly down in 2008) are being replaced by new gas identified as proven, which means no net loss going forward. (Ryder Scott put proven reserves at 16.99 tcf in 2007, the year to which its latest study relates, and total 3P reserves at 30.7 tcf.) The government seems determined to make sure that companies both old and 09/10 TTBG 43

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