By Linda Hutchinson-Jafar
PORT OF SPAIN, Feb 6 (Reuters) – Upstream companies operating in Trinidad and Tobago will invest $3 billion in oil and gas exploration activities this year, Energy Minister Kevin Ramnarine said on Monday.
“2012 exploration drilling will spring to life after low to moderate activity,” he said at the opening session of the Trinidad and Tobago Energy conference.
Five drilling rigs are currently operating in the country while six seismic programs were continuing or starting in 2012.
Trinidad and Tobago is highly dependent on the energy sector, which contributes close to 40 percent of GDP, 40 percent of revenues and is the largest source of foreign direct investment.
Updating the status of negotiations for deep water blocks in the Atlantic, Ramnarine said discussions have concluded with BP Trinidad and Tobago and he expects sign-off soon, while talks were continuing with BG Trinidad and Tobago and BHP Billiton for deep water acreage.
Ramnarine said the country’s continuing decline in oil production was a “most worrying aspect of the energy sector.”
Oil production, which averaged 92,000 barrels per day in 2011, was hampered by a plant shutdown at the state-owned oil company Petrotrin and by maintenance activity by other small oil producers.
“Any gains in government revenue that could be realized as a result of increased oil prices were negated by falling oil production. It’s hurting the national economy and the country at a time when we should be benefitting from high oil prices,” he told the energy conference.
Oil production has declined to 100,000 barrels of oil per day (bpd) from 145,000 bpd over the last 10 years.
Ramnarine said his ministry is preparing for a road show at the end of the month in Houston to meet with representatives from 200 oil and gas companies that have expressed interest in Trinidad and Tobago.
The ministry will also promote the next deep water bid round, which will be launched next month, he said.
- Niko Spuds Stalin Well, Offshore Trinidad (mb50.wordpress.com)
The Rowan Gorilla III rig is on location at the Stalin prospect, which is the first of three wells planned for Block 2ab located off Trinidad and Tobago’s eastern continental shelf. The Stalin-1 well is named after the popular calypso great, Black Stalin.
Niko is the operator of the block and has a 35.75% working interest. Partners in the well are Petrotrin with 35% and Centrica Plc with 29.25%. The well is being drilled in 100 feet of water to a total depth of 8800 feet and will test a large anticlinal feature made up of multiple thrust sheets. The reservoir targets are the Oligocene age Angostura sands which are producing in the Angostura field located approximately 23 miles east of the Stalin location.
Niko’s best estimate is a target of 600 to 800 million gross unrisked in-place barrels of oil equivalent.
- BP gets new offshore blocks in Trinidad (marketwatch.com)
Canada’s Niko Resources and Britain’s Centrica will invest $70 million in three offshore exploration wells this year in Trinidad and Tobago, the Caribbean’s leading oil and natural gas producer, officials said on Wednesday.
The two companies, along with Trinidad and Tobago’s state-owned integrated energy company Petrotrin, are joint venture partners in an offshore region known as Block 2ab.
Ajith Muralidharan, a manager at Niko Resources, said drilling is scheduled to begin in September and that surveying so far had “shown prospects with substantial potential.”
The investment comes as Trinidad and Tobago seeks to lure investment and increase oil and natural gas output in its vital energy sector, which accounts for 45 percent of the country’s gross domestic product and 60 percent of its foreign exchange earnings.
Government statistics show oil production has fallen steadily over the last decade from 145,000 barrels a day to 100,000 bpd over the last 10 years.
Trinidad and Tobago’s Energy Minister Carolyn Seepersad- Bachan welcomed the drilling plan as a sign exploration may be poised to pick up again after falling over the past two years largely because of high drilling costs and the onset of the global recession.
( Original Article )