New Trinidad and Tobago government takes ‘use or lose’ exploitation stance

The newly elected Trinidad and Tobago government has announced that upstream operators will have to fully exploit their blocks or relinquish idle acreage.

The country’s new Minister of Energy Nicole Olliviere told members of the Energy Chamber of Trinidad and Tobago that Ryder Scott had identified 127 prospects within the acreage currently operated by operators under production-sharing contracts and exploration and production licenses and these prospects represent an unrisked resource estimated at 31.9 tcf and a risked resource estimated at 7.2 tcf. With unrisked field sizes ranging from as low as 100 bcf to 1 tcf.

Olliviere said the new government would be prepared to provide incentives where required but in an attempt to increase gas production it wanted to ensure that the acreages were being fully explored.

“Upstream operators shall be expected to develop a program of activity which exploits fully the acreage they currently hold,” she said. “If the requisite programs are not developed, the upstream operators will be required to relinquish acreage that remains idle.”

This does not include any relinquishment that operators are contractually obliged to undertake.

BP Trinidad & Tobago is expected to be significantly affected by the decision since it has for years argued that it is exploring its acreage in the best interest of Trinidad and Tobago and its shareholders, however it has not been willing to develop any field that is smaller than 1 tcf.

The minister acknowledged that Trinidad and Tobago had a gas shortage and said the situation was being made worse by a number of gas negotiations that are to be resolved among National Gas Co. of Trinidad & Tobago, BPTT, BG Group, Atlantic LNG, and a number of methanol and ammonia plants.

Olliviere also explained that the government was not happy with its take from LNG exports and will be “undertaking a review of the LNG contractual arrangements to ensure that government revenues under these arrangements are preserved.”

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