Trinidad and Tobago announced the signing of four production sharing contracts (PSCs) with Australia's BHP Billiton for four deepwater blocks that the company had previously won in December during the country's 2012 deepwater bid round.
On hand for the June 12 signing ceremony was Minister of Energy and Energy Affairs, Senator Kevin C. Ramnarine, and BHP Billiton Country Manager, Vincent Pereira.
The PSCs covers Trinidad and Tobago Deep Atlantic Area (TTDAA) Blocks 5, 6, 28 and 29. Each block has an initial phased exploration period of up to nine years and provide for the automatic extension of the contract term to 30 years in respect of areas in which a commercial discovery is made. Activity related to the award of these PSCs is expected to generate a minimum investment of approximately US$565 million for the mandatory exploration phases and a further US$459 million over the optional exploration phases. This means an investment of at least US$565 million or a total of US$1.24 billion inclusive of subsequent optional phases. In the mandatory first phases, the four PSCs will collectively drill at least six deepwater exploration wells and acquire 5,330 sq km of 3D seismic.
Speaking at the signing event, Ramnarine said the PSCs have the potential to radically reshape the economic landscape of Trinidad and Tobago's future. "It is a significant achievement for the government and the nation as we seek to increase oil and gas revenues, the main contributor to our economic development," he said. "We look forward to partnering with BHP Billiton to enhance the energy security of this country for this generation and the ones to come.”
Pereira called Trinidad and Tobago an important part of BHP's portfolio. "It has the investment climate, people, talent and resource base for a successful business. This new exploration acreage is evidence of our continuing commitment to Trinidad and Tobago.”
BHP currently operates (45% interest) the offshore Angostura field in Trinidad and Tobago, which achieved first gas in 2011 and first oil in 2005. The Angostura field, which includes discoveries at Aripo, Kairi and Canteen, is thought to contain gross recoverable reserves of 300 million bbl of oil and 1.7 tcf of natural gas.
The Ministry is currently planning for the 2013 deepwater bid round where only six blocks will be up for grabs. Nominations for Trinidad and Tobago's Shallow and Deepwater round opened in June and will close in November.
The TTDAA acreage lies to the east of Trinidad and Tobago's currently producing oil and gas fields. It spans 40,000 sq km in water depths ranging between 600-3500m. The Ministry says exploration has been limited in the area. It was first offered up through a competitive bid round in 2006.