The Government will offer eight blocks to oil and gas companies for bids to explore, find and produce oil and gas. Six of the blocks are located in the shallow water surrounding Trinidad and two in central Trinidad.
The names and location of the blocks have been a tightly held secret by the Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries but Business and Money has obtained a document that identifies all the blocks to be offered.
The document identifies the blocks to the offered as follows:
• Block 1B off the west coast of Trinidad
ª Block Ub off the east coast
• Block Uc which is located next to Ub and is also off the east coast
• Lower Reverse L Block that is off the east coast
• North Coast Marine Area (NCMA) 2 off the north coast
• NCMA 3 off the north coast
The ministry will then pause and in phase two—later in the year—it will offer the Charuma 1 and 2 blocks in the Central Range.
The ministry first announced that the bid round will take place in the first quarter of 2018, which was then pushed back to the end of June, but there has been no word on the number of blocks, or where they are located.
It is expected that there will be significant interest in the blocks since some are expected to be gas prone and with the shortage of natural gas in the country there will be an almost guaranteed market for the gas.
Further, the blocks are in shallow water and therefore less expensive to explore and develop than in the deep water. The blocks are also located relatively closely to existing infrastructure, allowing them to be quickly developed if economically viable discoveries are made and in the case of NCMA 2 and NCMA 3 they are close to NCMA 4 which is operated by Royal Dutch Shell and is thought to contain natural gas.
There will not be any deep water blocks on offer in this bid round as the government is awaiting further data from the three deep water wells expected to be drilled this year by BHP Billiton.
Earlier this year, Energy Minister Franklin Khan said government wants the results of the wells before it tries to woo international companies to bid on the country’s frontier deepwater.
“In the first instance we are going out later this year with land and shallow marine, not deep water. This is because obviously we want the exploration cycle in this first round of the deepwater exploration to be concluded and to see what type of results we have before we go back into the market.”
BHP Billiton has so far drilled two wells in the previously unexplored deep water and has made a 5 trillion cubic feet gas discovery in its first well, Le Clerc, and drilled a dry hole in the second.
Last Wednesday, BHP spudded its well, Victory 1, in Block TTDAA Block 5 which is the same block where the 5 tcf was discovered. The well is being drilled almost three months after it was initially expected.
Khan said the delay was caused by the Australian outfit’s inability to secure a deepwater drill ship to do a three well programme.
“The slide of three months is due to the challenge of procuring a deepwater drill ship. It’s a cycle that has to do with the international industry because the contract will only have to be for three wells. So to get a rig for two wells you have to get a window because the owners of rigs prefer long term contracts, so where there is a break in their long term contracts they can fill the space and that is what is happening here.
BHP has at least an additional six wildcat wells to drill in its Trinidad deep water programme but Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley said the company has agreed to work toward speeding up the development and production of gas from Le Clerc to deal with natural gas curtailment problems.