WHAT'S ON OFFER: Energy Minister Kevin Ramnarine, left, shows an area of the energy map indicating the deepwater blocks offered in the latest bid round to Business Express energy correspondent David Renwick following yesterday's media briefing at the Ministry of Energy, Tower C, Port of Spain Waterfront. —Photo: ISHMAEL SALANDY

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$7b to boost T&T's oil production

By Camille Bethel camille.bethel@trinidadexpress.com

State-owned Petrotrin will invest approximately $7 billion in its Trinmar subsidiary operations between 2013 and 2017, in a bid to boost the country's oil production, Minister of Energy Kevin Ramnarine has said.

Speaking at a media briefing at the Ministry of Energy and Energy Affairs, Port of Spain yesterday, Ramnarine said the investment was part of the Exploration and Production (Public Petroleum Rights) licence granted by Government to Petrotrin for the Trinmar acreage or TNA (Trinidad Northern Areas) Block and the North Marine Block to reverse the decline in oil production.

Ramnarine said the negotiations between the Ministry of Energy and Petrotrin for the licence laid out clearly defined work and financial obligations.

"I must emphasise that the award of these exploration and production licences to Petrotrin is fully aligned with the Government's commitment to arrest and reverse the deleterious effects of declining crude oil production, to improve our domestic crude oil production, to increase the country's crude oil and natural gas reserves and to promote and accelerate investment in the local energy sector. And will provide for new work programmes, signature bonuses, scholarships and training, abandonment provisions," he said.

He said the licence grants a term of six years to execute the exploration programme as well as to develop and delineate existing field areas.

"The expectation is that, resulting from the terms of the new licences, coupled with Petrotrin's internal development programmes, the company projects to improve its Trinmar production levels from an average crude oil production of 21,356 (barrels of oil per day) for financial year 2012 to 32,268 bopd in 2017," he said.

The TNA licence area comprises approximately 75,737 hectares while the North Marine licence comprises an area of approximately 20,572 hectares. The TNA licence will commit Petrotrin to conduct 300 square kilometres of 3D seismic within 36 months and to drill four exploration wells over the next 24 to 48 months.

"The North Marine licence requires the company to drill two exploration wells within the next 36 months as well as do reprocessing and evaluation of seismic," he said.

Ramnarine also spoke of the recently concluded deepwater bid round where BHP Billiton won four of the five blocks.

He said the four production sharing contracts (PSCs) were expected to generate approximately US$564.82 million in the first phase and US$1,024 million in subsequent phases.

"This translates to TT$3.6 billion and TT$6.4 billion respectively. The four PSCs will see in the first phase at least six exploration wells and 5,330 square km of 3D seismic."

Ramnarine said there was the potential to find giant oil finds in the country's deep water as the technical evaluation committee estimated the possible gas resources/reserves in these blocks at 2.4 to 23.6 trillion cubic feet and possible oil reserves of 428 to 4,200 million barrels.

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