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Trinidad and Tobago: Poised for New Growth

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Going into 2019, Trinidad and Tobago is the largest producer of oil and natural gas in the Caribbean. In the early 1990s, the country’s hydrocarbons industry shifted from oil-dominated production to a market centred primarily on natural gas. In 2017, Trinidad and Tobago’s proven gas reserves were estimated at 300 bcm (10.6 tcf) and the country produced around 33.8 bcm (1.19 tcf) of gas. Due to a slowdown in upstream investment, the island has experienced a decline in natural gas production since 2014, something expected to continue in the near term. Because the country has such an abundant pool of gas resources, its gas processing and petrochemicals sectors have thrived. However, severe gas shortages in recent years have forced several midstream and downstream companies, including Atlantic LNG and Methanol Holdings, to scale back activity. Several new projects came on line or were sanctioned in 2017 and 2018 that are expected to raise overall gas production and help the state-owned National Gas Company bring gas supplies back up to adequate levels. BP Trinidad and Tobago’s Juniper and Trinidad Regional Onshore Compression (TROC) projects became operational in 2017. Juniper is expected to reach a production plateau of 16.7 mcm (590 mcf) per day, while TROC aims to increase the country’s overall gas output by 5.66 mcm (200 mcf) per day. Additionally, the super-major’s Angelin project is expected to come on line in 2019. Shell, DeNovo Energy and BHP Group have also contributed to Trinidad and Tobago’s gas hopes, with the latter in 2017 announcing the major discovery of 113 bcm-142 bcm (4 tcf-5 tcf) of gas in the LeClerc play. The well was the first deepwater well to be drilled in the country, fuelling interest in the country’s unexplored deepwater acreage. Oil production peaked at 193,000 bopd in 2007 and has suffered a steep decline since then, to 99,000 bopd in 2017. The fall in output is mainly attributed to the increasing difficulty of extracting resources from the country’s ageing fields, as well as low oil prices and subsequently lessened exploration efforts. In 2017 and 2018, headway was made in EOR projects aimed at mitigating the crude production decline. A recent study indicated the presence of 3 billion barrels of heavy oil in the country’s previously explored onshore and offshore acreage, putting EOR back into the spotlight. Companies have been turning their focus to mature areas, such as Perenco in the Teak, Samaan and Poui fields. On top of the positive developments taking place in the country, Trinidadian companies expect to benefit from movements in neighbouring oil and gas markets. Not only is Trinidad and Tobago poised to take advantage of collaboration agreements signed with Venezuela for gas production, but the country is also uniquely positioned to serve as a hub for the region’s nascent hydrocarbons markets. Countries such as Guyana and Suriname are looking to take advantage of both Trinidad and Tobago’s oil and gas expertise, as well as its port infrastructure.


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