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Total selling off T&T assets
By the end of March, one of the largest oil and gas companies in the world will be pulling out of Trinidad and Tobago because it no longer views this country as part of its future strategic plans.
French energy giant Total SA, which has been in this country since 1996, has decided to sell its assets in Trinidad and Tobago to another multinational company already operating here. Sources close to the negotiations say that a price has been agreed upon and all that remains to be done is to consummate the deal.
“Both parties have basically agreed to the terms of the sale. The major issues including reaching an agreement on the price of the assets have been decided so that by the end of the first quarter the companies would have signed the agreement and Total will be moving on out of Trinidad and Tobago,” a local energy official told the Business Guardian.
Total is a global company and has interests in the oil, gas and chemical industries, operating in three core businesses. Its upstream business is involved in the exploration and production of oil and gas and the downstream business covers refining and marketing of oil and gas, along with trading and shipping.
In addition its chemical business comprises various activities including the production of petrochemicals such as olefins and aromatics, polyethylene, polypropylene and styrenics as well as fertilizers and the manufacture of specialities for industry and the consumer market, including rubber, resins, adhesives and electroplating.
The company came here first as the French company Elf Acquitaine and had drilled the Mopho well in Block S11B off the Moruga coast. That well turned out to be a dry hole and Elf then merged with Total and Fina to become Total/Fina/Elf which then became Total. Since then the French company has been trying to grow its presence in this country.
Total then became partners with BHP Billiton in Block 2c and made what was thought to be a major find in what is now called the Angostura field. Total held a 30 per cent equity stake in the Greater Angostura field, while its partners BHP Billiton and Chinese firm Chaoyang held 45 per cent and 25 per cent respectively. BHP was the operator.
The Greater Angostura field includes oil and gas discoveries at Aripo, Kairi and Canteen. It was originally thought that it would produce up to 100,000 barrels of oil per day but it never did and due to significant faulting the production has plummeted to less than 15,000 bo/d.
Total’s decision to pull out of Trinidad followed a failed attempt in 2011 to win the deepwater block 23A. That Block was awarded to bpTT after the company bid among other things to drill a well in the Block. Total’s bid only offered to conduct seismic and then re-evaluate if it wanted to drill any wells.
Having failed in 2001 and 2003 to get the same block the company decided to pack up shop and leave. Total’s leaving also means that its small staff may be out of work unless they are absorbed by the new owners.
The company has also lost interest in Trinidad and Tobago after its discovery of massive oil in French Guiana. Total and its partners drilled the Zaedyus exploration well to test whether the Jubilee field in Ghana was mirrored in South America and the “Atlantic mirror” theory has been proven with a discovery of a field that could hold 700 million barrels in gross reserves. That well encountered 72 meters of so-called net oil pay.
Geologists believe that when the Atlantic Ocean started opening between South America and Africa, organic sediment resulted in hydrocarbon deposits known as the Late Cretaceous turbidite sands. They haven’t been drilled to date because they are less visible than other types of deposits and drilling at such depths has only recently become viable
Energy industry sources say that Total was now seeking to rationalise its Exploration and Production (E&P) commitment and Trinidad and Tobago was just too small to hold onto.
The Business Guardian sent an e-mail seeking a comment from the French energy giant to Winston Boodoo, the advisor to Total’s T&T operations, on Tuesday afternoon.
Boodoo responded by writing that he had forwarded the e-mail to Sergio Georgi, a Total official in Paris.
Georgi did not respond to the BG enquiry up to press time, Wednesday morning.
• Fifth largest publicly-traded integrated international energy company in the world
• Largest capitalization on the Euronext Paris and the Eurozone: €93.2 billion at December 31, 2011.
• 96,104 employees.
• Operations in more than 130 countries
• Exploration and production operations in more than 40 countries.
• Producer of oil and gas in 30 countries.
• Approximately 520,000 French individual shareholders.
• 2011 sales: €184.6 billion.
With operations in more than 130 countries, Total engages in all aspects of the petroleum industry, including Upstream operations (oil and gas exploration, development and production, LNG) and Downstream operations (refining, marketing and the trading and shipping of crude oil and petroleum products).
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