Trinidad and Tobago ‘open’ to LNG expansions with Loran-Manatee field production

Trinidad and Tobago has said it is open to LNG expansions if the partners of the 10-tcf giant Loran-Manatee natural gas field want to use the field’s production for export. Loran-Manatee field crosses the maritime border of Trinidad and Tobago and Venezuela.

Venezuela last fall signed an agreement with Trinidad and Tobago to send its portion of the gas being developed and produced from the field to the Caribbean twin-island nation for processing as LNG (OGJ Online, Sept. 25, 2015).

Trinidad and Tobago has said it will only agree to a deal if growth in global LNG demand is acceptable and will lead to the highest revenue return for the country.

In an interview with OGJ, the country’s Energy Minister Nicole Olivierre said all options will be explored for use of the natural gas including building another LNG train in Trinidad and Tobago.

Venezuela’s state-owned Petroleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA) and Chevron Global Inc. are the licensees of the block on the Venezulean side while Chevron Trinidad and Tobago Resources Ltd. and BG Trinidad & Tobago are the licensees on the Trinidad and Tobago side.

Negotiations between Venezuela and Trinidad and Tobago have continued for the last 12 years starting in 2003 with the signing of a memorandum followed by 5 years of technical studies of several reservoirs to determine if they crossed and to what extent they crossed the maritime border between the countries.

A framework treaty was then signed and a unit operator selected. The operator is now working on a development plan and only then approvals will have to be sought and the financing determined.

Trinidad and Tobago had in the past made a decision that it would not expand its LNG production past Atlantic LNG Train 4 unless it made major new discoveries of gas.

In addition over the last 4 years, the island has suffered from gas curtailments in the order of 500 MMcfd, which has hurt its downstream sector and impacted Atlantic LNG’s output.

However that curtailment is expected to end by 2017 with an additional 800 MMcfd coming onstream.

Certain sources, however, have told OGJ that Venezuelan wants some of the gas to go back to Guiria but Trinidad and Tobago convinced the Bolivarian Republic that it would be feasible in the future to send some of the gas to Venezuela by using its Cross Island Pipeline and then building a pipeline to take it across from Trinidad to Guiria.

When asked whether she expected the gas curtailment to still be in place by the time gas from Loran-Manatee field is produced, Olivierre said she could not predict but it could also be a case of negotiating where the gas will come from to meet future demands in Trinidad and Tobago, including LNG demands.

“You know that negotiations for Train 1 are ongoing and therefore we also have to look at that and what might be the best fit and use of our gas and so that is also a possibility,” she said.

She said, “We will also have to take into consideration the fact that we need additional gas to keep our present downstream operations going and also look at the price we can get downstream rather than as LNG export. So all of that will help determine where we go.”

Certain sources told OGJ that both Venezuela and Trinidad and Tobago have been urging Chevron Corp. and PDVSA to conclude both agreements so that the gas can be produced.

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