Trinidad and Tobago ramps up crude oil production

Trinidad and Tobago says it is taking steps to increase crude oil production in an effort to balance its energy portfolio.

Curtis Williams
OGJ Correspondent

PORT OF SPAIN, Feb. 25 -- Trinidad and Tobago says it is taking steps to increase crude oil production in an effort to balance its energy portfolio.

Energy Minister Conrad Enill said the twin-island nation has become too reliant on natural gas and too vulnerable during times of weak gas prices.

Over the last 15 years, Enill said, the country placed too much emphasis on gas production with the construction of four LNG trains and several downstream plants. This has occurred while crude production continued to fall.

Enill said, “We recognize that oil production has been on the decline and the country has become gas-based, however, we would like to encourage a mix that is more balanced.”

He said the country’s state-owned Petrotrin will play an important role in delivering on this objective.

“We have challenged its leadership to organize in such a way as to support this requirement for increases in oil production. Petrotrin in response has begun to deliver on this mandate.” Enill told an energy conference in Port of Spain.

He pointed out that Petrotrin had already granted seven sublicenses for smaller companies to produce stripper fields in eastern Trinidad and work is about to start.

“We anticipate that gains in production volumes will be realized from this initiative,” the minister said, adding, “Petrotrin also has been mandated to develop a program for the efficient and effective management of the Trinmar asset.”

Since its acquisition of the Trinmar asset from the former Texaco Inc., Trinmar’s oil production has fallen from close to 100,000 bo/d to less than 40,000 bo/d.

Enill said Petrotrin will also be pursuing a 3D seismic program over its assets in the North West district and API’s Oropouche farmout area of South Trinidad and is intended to guide the future exploration on land and is intended to result in the identification of more oil drilling locations.

Helena Inniss-King, the country’s director of resource management, said rebalancing is crucial and pointed out that the Central Range (Shallow Horizon), Central Range(Deep Horizon), Guyaguyare (Shallow Horizon), and Guyaguyare (Deep Horizon) that were allocated in 2009 are all expected to produce oil.

Inniss-King said Trinidad and Tobago will also be exploring the possibility of producing its significant reserves of heavy oil if the economics allow it.

Trinidad and Tobago produces 4.1 bcfd of gas and 110,000 bo/d of oil and is the largest exporter of LNG to the US.

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