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Touchstone Exploration employees explore a well in the onshore Ortoire Block in South East, Trinidad. (File photo)

Audit shows increase in Trinidad and Tobago’s oil reserves

Touchstone Exploration employees explore a well in the onshore Ortoire Block in South East, Trinidad. (File photo)

Trinidad and Tobago’s Minister of Energy and Energy Industries Franklin Khan, during a live virtual press conference, recently indicated that the crude oil reserves in the twin-island republic have increased since 2012.

In his presentation, the minister said that Netherland Sewell and Associates (NSAI) had conducted the crude oil reserves audit and that the report reflected the reserves position at the end of 2018.

Trinidad and Tobago’s Minister of Energy and Energy Industries Franklin Khan
(Photo: TT Newsday)

Minister Khan said that in 2018, proved reserves jumped by 10.3 per cent from 199.5 million barrels to 220.1 million barrels.  

He added that probable reserves rose by 16.6 per cent, from 85.5 million barrels to 99.7 million barrels; and possible reserves climbed by 8.5 per cent, from 124.8 million barrels to 135.5 million barrels. The 20.6-million-barrel increase in proved reserves is a hopeful sign and is due to operators’ commitment to explore undeveloped opportunities onshore Trinidad and in the West Coast Marine Area.

The energy minister also said that NSAI’s Best Estimate of the nation’s Contingent Resources (2C) rose by 17.2 per cent — from 58 million barrels in 2012 to 68 million barrels in 2018, with a 25.7-million-barrel addition from onshore Trinidad in 2018. This contribution came from several well-known fields such as Barrackpore, Penal and Parrylands, as well as one operational and one proposed flooding project.

“I’m proud to announce that NSAI’s independent, best estimate of our unrisked prospective resources is now a mammoth 3.2 billion barrels. ”

— Franklin Khan, minister of energy and energy industries, Trinidad and Tobago

However, Khan pointed out that several geologic, economic, and technical hurdles need to be overcome for these resources to be promoted to reserves.

“I’m proud to announce that NSAI’s independent, best estimate of our unrisked prospective resources is now a mammoth 3.2 billion barrels. This is an increase of 773.4 per cent over the unrisked prospective resources at 1st January 2012 of only 368.2 million barrels,” he said

Over 90 per cent of the resources identified in deep water were the achievements of BHP and its partner Shell in acquiring, processing and interpreting prospects identified in the Southerly Deepwater Blocks of TTDAA 3, TTDAA 5 and TTDAA 6, the energy minister explained.

He added that with the Invictus drillship now in transit to Trinidad and Tobago from the Gulf of Mexico to drill the Broadside prospect, a commercial discovery in any of its several stacked Miocene targets would de-risk the prospective resources identified by NSAI significantly and be very good news for Trinidad and Tobago.

Invictus (Photo: Energy News Bulletin)

Khan indicated, too, that between 2012 and 2018, the share of total proved reserves belonging to the East Coast Marine area declined from 31 per cent to 18 per cent due to natural depletion. At the same time, onshore Trinidad’s share of the total increased from 36 per cent to 52 per cent. The West Coast Marine Area’s share, in contrast, decreased slightly from 33 per cent to 30 per cent.

According to the Minister Khan, “This is the second audit produced by NSAI for the Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries (MEEI) after Cabinet in 2011 approved the engagement of an independent petroleum consultant to conduct audits of the crude oil reserves of Trinidad and Tobago for two separate periods for the MEEI.”