Trinidad and Tobago’s proven natural gas reserves have fallen for another year, according to the findings of Houston-based consultants Ryder Scott. The company recently completed its annual audit of T&T’s natural gas reserves and handed it in to the Ministry of Energy and Energy Affairs. Multiple sources have confirmed to the Business Guardian (BG) that the decline is expected in the vicinity of 800 billion cubic feet in proved reserves. One Government source told BG: “The results are not surprising to anyone. The fact is that we have not had a discovery over the last year. The gas usage over that time was lower than the 1.3 tcf we have been using because of lower production from bpTT (BP Trinidad & Tobago) and to a lesser extent BGTT.” The source said some of the decline was also reduced by some studies bpTT did, which led to the company replacing some of its reserves based on the performance of its reservoirs. Government sources told BG that the results will only be released after the closing of the 2012 deepwater bid round as the ministry does not want any negative news to emerge before the closure of the bid round.
In addition, BG has been told by Government sources that the ministry was not too worried by this latest survey, since the search for gas is about to get a significant boost with exploration drilling in the last quarter on 2012 and into 2013, including exploration in north Trinidad, which the ministry feels is very prospective. Last year, T&T’s proved natural gas reserves also fell. In presenting last year’s Ryder Scott report, the company’s senior petroleum engineer Larry McHalffey told a news conference that T&T’s proved reserves declined to 13.46 tcf at year end 2010 from 14.42 tcf in 2009. However, probable and possible reserves remained fairly stable at respective levels of 7.64 tcf and nearly 6 tcf. McHalffey said the consultant audited the inventories and geological concepts of bpTT, British Gas, BHP Billiton, Chevron Corp, EOG Resources, Centrica, Petrotrin, Repsol, and other open areas to reach its findings. McHalffey blamed the reduction in proved reserves on the lack of replacement through additional drilling.
He said the time will come when the operators will realise that they need more proved reserves to fulfil their contracted obligations. Energy Minister Kevin Ramnarine last year noted that while there was no exploration drilling for gas in 2010, he expected by mid-2012 that exploration wells would be drilled on Blocks NCMA(2), NCMA(4), NCMA(3) and 4(b). “It should be noted that the audit did not take these blocks into consideration, however, technical work undertaken by the ministry indicates that the blocks may contain in excess of 5 tcf of gas and the ministry’s estimates are conservative compared to those of the companies awarded the blocks,” Ramnarine said. He also expected large gas finds on deepwater blocks 23(a) and TTDA 14, which have recently been awarded to bpTT. These two blocks are estimated to have 4.7-8.2 tcf of unrisked gas resources based on the ministry’s estimates. T&T has conducted annual gas audits since 2000 but has announced that starting next year, it will conduct these audits every three years.