BHP to drill first deepwater well off Trinidad in 2016, energy minister says

BHP Billiton and its partner BP PLC will drill their first well in Trinidad and Tobago’s deep water in 2016 according to the Caribbean twin-island nation’s Energy Minister Kevin Ramnarine.

Speaking recently at the Energy Chamber’s annual conference, Ramnarine said the collapse of oil prices have not affected the companies’ decision to go into the deep water off the Caribbean island which has never been explored.

He said the decision to proceed with the exploration followed the acquisition of significant amounts of seismic data to be processed this year.

Ramnarine said, “This is a seismic program over 20,199 sq km, or almost four times the size of Trinidad and Tobago.”

BHP Billiton and its partners have committed to drilling 20 wells in Trinidad and Tobago’s deep water on the 9 blocks for which they serve as operator.

Trinidad and Tobago has produced more than 1 billion bbl of oil, all of which has come from land or the continental shelf. BHP and its partners will face some challenges drilling in the deep water, as the sea floor off the island typically has mud volcanoes and seeps. Seeps are common on the seafloor and are fluid migration pathways that increase the risk of shallow-water flows in deepwater operations. There also is the possibility of gas hydrates in the shallow sediments.

Ramnarine told the conference that BP also is looking at drilling an exploration well in its acreage in the Columbus basin—their first in almost a decade.

He said, “Already working on its next major developments Angelin and Savannah, both of which will be drilled next year. Savannah is an exploration well and it will be the first exploration well that BP has drilled since the Deep Ibis Well in 2006.” BP plans to use the Diamond Ocean Victory semisubmersible rig to drill the well, he said.

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