|Gas light |
Thursday, June 15 2017
Energy production in Trinidad and Tobago has long since become dominated by gas production. There has been a significant fall in government’s revenue from the energy sector brought on by both a fall in prices and output. In addition, the fall in foreign currency earned by the energy sector has resulted in anticipation for news of a turnaround in the sector.
So far, in the six months of 2017, we have seen the ﬁnalisation of several large gas projects in the country. This is expected to lead to an increase in domestic output.
Hopefully this will stop what has been three consecutive years of decline. On what is this optimism based? Quite simply there are projects that are expected to come on stream; this includes the Sercan Project, the Trinidad Onshore Compression Project and the much larger Juniper project. Taken together, these are expected to increase our natural gas production to approximately 37.3 billion cubic metres (bcm).
Projects such as these can see gas production increase over the next few years leading to positive growth from the sector. In addition, it is also expected that a further boost to growth will come from drilling at mature gas ﬁelds, including the Amherstia field. We must also take into consideration the confirmation given by BP Trinidad and Tobago (BPTT) about the ﬁnal investment decision for the Angelin field. When production comes online from the beginning of 2019, it is anticipated that this will lead to an additional 6.2 bcm of production.
Based on the information above, there is an optimistic view about the future gas production. This we expect to translate into an increase in LNG exports from Trinidad and Tobago. Before we get ahead of ourselves we must note that gas production is expected to peak nearer to 2021. If you add higher rates of domestic consumption (particularly within the petrochemical sector) then some recalibration must take place, putting LNG exports roughly at 20.0 bcm over the longer term.
These levels represent the export peaks of 2012.
Strategically, as production comes back up, Trinidad and Tobago should secure longterm supply agreements with its neighbouring countries. In particular we should seek to exploit the expanded Panama Canal now that it has been opened. This will make access to Paciﬁc markets easier. The canal expansion can reduce, by as much as 30 per cent, transit times to Japan making shipments of gas more economical to East Asian markets. If we remember that 95 per cent of LNG imported by Chile comes from this country, exports to Chile will also be facilitated by the canal expansion. If the anticipated agreement between the government of Venezuela and our own for the supply of natural gas from the offshore Dragon ﬁeld becomes a reality, this will make more gas available for liquefaction.
Of course, we all know how uncertain the environment is in Venezuela. This we must use to temper exuberance.
Only quite recently BPTT announced a very successful exploration of two wells - the Savannah and Macadamia wells.
This should positively impact the country’s gas production after 2020. At present it is believed that these wells may contain approximately two trillion cubic feet of gas. What makes this so exciting, despite an era of low gas prices, is, both discoveries are located in shallow water. In addition, they lie close to existing gas infrastructure, including the Juniper ﬁeld and the Cashima field. This implies that future development of the fields could be tied-back to the Juniper and Cashima fields, lowering capital needed to bring those fields online.
This is good news.