BPTT President: Norman Christie

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BPTT makes big natural gas find

...1 trillion cubic feet discovered off coast

By Carla Bridglal carla.bridglal@trinidadexpress.com

BP Trinidad and Tobago (bpTT) has made an estimated 1 trillion cubic feet (tcf) natural gas discovery off Trinidad's south east coast, the company said in a release yesterday.

The UK-headquartered energy giant is the largest producer of natural gas in the country, with 54.88 per cent of market share in 2011.

bpTT's parent company BP made the announcement yesterday in London, England, during a meeting between Energy Minister Kevin Ramnarine and Trinidad and Tobago's High Commissioner to London, Garvin Nicholas and BP representatives, among them Executive Vice President–Production Bob Fryar, Executive Vice President—Developments Bernard Looney and bpTT President Norman Christie.

"This is exciting news for both bpTT and the industry since this represents the largest discovery for bpTT since 2005," said Christie.

The discovery was made in the Savonette gas field which doubles the estimated gas in the Savonette field to 2 tcf.

One trillion cubic feet of gas produces approximately enough energy to power one million homes for 15 years.

Energy Chamber president Roger Packer yesterday welcomed the news. "This is very good. Something like this encourages investor confidence and inspires longevity to the sector. Over the last two years there was quite a pickup in exploration. Traditionally there is a find in one in every seven wells, so the more exploration, the greater the chances of a find.

Packer said the country consumes about 1.4 tcf a year, so this find—equivalent to about two-thirds of domestic consumption—was very good news for the future.

The find, and the ensuing production value, comes at a time when domestic energy output has been steadily falling over the last half a decade or so. In its Monetary Policy Report for October 2012, the Central Bank reported troubling statistics of a 7.3 contraction in the energy sector for the second quarter of 2012, mainly in part to increased maintenance activity on production wells by several operators, including bpTT.

The Savonette 4 appraisal well was drilled into an untested fault block east of the original Savonette field discovery well, in water depths of almost 300 feet in the Columbus basin approximately 80 kilometres off the south east coast of Trinidad. The well was drilled to a total depth of 18,678 feet and penetrated hydrocarbon-bearing reservoirs in two intervals with discovered gas in place exceeding initial estimates. Based on the success of the Savonette 4 well, bpTT is proposing to drill a further two development wells into the Savonette reservoirs.

The gas discovered began production in October 2012, with the Savonette 4 well currently flowing at approximately 225 million standard cubic feet of gas a day (mmscf/d), ramping up to 250mmscf/d. If successful, the two additional development wells are also expected to be brought into production over the next year to 18 months.

"The significant investment in the Savonette 4 well and the potential further investment in two additional development wells, combined with the investment in the ocean bottom cable seismic acquisition, is testament to bpTT's ongoing commitment to the development of our Trinidad and Tobago operations and the wider industry. This discovery demonstrates that with the right technology we can continue to uncover the full potential of the Columbus Basin," Christie said.

The Savonette field was discovered in 2004 by the Chachalaca exploration well and began production in 2009 through a normally unmanned platform. BP has a 100 per cent working interest in Savonette 4.

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