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)