Ryder Scott: Trinidad and Tobago gas reserves revised

Trinidad and Tobago has proved gas reserves of 15.4 tcf and another 30 tcf in unrisked exploration potential, according to recent findings of Ryder Scott Consultants.

This article contains corrections made on Sept. 4, 2009

Curtis Williams

OGJ Correspondent

PORT OF SPAIN, Sept. 3 -- Trinidad and Tobago has proved gas reserves of 15.4 tcf and another 30 tcf in unrisked exploration potential, according to recent findings of Ryder Scott Consultants.

Herman Acuna, Ryder Scott managing senior vice-president, told a news conference in the Caribbean twin-island nation’s capital of Port of Spain that while there was a reduction in the country’s proved reserves, its probable and possible reserves had increased.

The study was conducted for 2008 and showed that the largest exporter of LNG to the US had 8.5 tcf of probable reserves, 6.3 tcf of possible reserves, and 29.6 tcf of unrisked exploration potential.

Acuna said 1.5 tcf of proved gas had been used up and the challenge to Trinidad and Tobago was to replace the proved gas.

He said, “There is a tremendous pressure to continue exploration activities and to continue developmental activities to replace the tremendous amount of production that’s happening. We are talking about in the order of 1.5 tcf/year.”

He revealed that Ryder Scott had recommended that Trinidad and Tobago aim to replace 100%/year of its proved reserves, to have reasonable demand expectations, and to have sufficient probable and possible reserves.

Trinidad and Tobago Energy Minister Conrad Enill was at the briefing, where he said the government had recognized that the solution was to increase exploration.

Enill said, “Exploration drilling is the vehicle whereby resources can be moved from exploratory up the chain to 3P reserves, while appraisal and development drilling can move possible and probable reserves into the proved category. Based on the current production and on recent exploration success, it is estimated that as many as nine exploration wells per year need to be drilled to maintain the reserve base.”

The minister confirmed that Trinidad and Tobago produces 4.1 bcfd of gas, saying, “In light of this, there is a critical need for Trinidad and Tobago to encourage exploration as wells as appraisal and development drilling to more resources from the unrisked to the risked category.”

To do this, the minister said there will be changes to the taxation regime for exploration particularly in marginal fields and in the deep water.

Helena Inniss-King, the twin-island’s director of resource management, admitted this would not be easy.

She said due to the nature of gas, it was necessary to have projects before companies explored for reserves and the “catch 22” situation was that unless the gas was in place, downstream companies were reluctant to invest.

“This is a very big challenge because companies do not really explore and develop gas to put in a bank. What they want is almost instant returns on their investments and therefore we have to have downstream projects to encourage exploration and development and on the other hand people want to see the gas there before they agree to do a project.” Inniss-King said.

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