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Did BHP make another deepwater discovery?

Published: 
Thursday, July 19, 2018

Did BHP Billiton make a discovery in its latest deepwater well, Victoria 1, which was recently drilled off the east coast?

Well-placed sources confirmed that hydrocarbons were found but there is no word on whether it was in commercial quantities, whether it was oil or gas, or a mixture of both.

The well was drilled in Block TTDAA 5, the same block where BHP announced it had discovered 5 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. It is also the block that Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley said Government is trying to get BHP to develop as quickly as possible to alleviate the natural gas shortage that has plagued the country for more than six years.

Unlike the first well in which the company drilled to 20,000 feet below the surface, this well is less than 10,000 feet. It encountered gas bearing sands and is likely successful. However, because the well is considered a “tight hole”, information is being kept among a few individuals.

Under their production sharing contract the country should know within the next month whether the latest deepwater well drilled by BHP Billiton was a success because they will have to report the outcome to the Ministry of Energy and Energy industries.

BHP was asked the following questions:

• Can you say whether the target depth (TD) was reached?

• What was that TD?

• How many feet of water was the well was drilled in?

• Did the well encounter hydrocarbons?

• Our understanding is that a discovery was made. Was it oil, gas, or both?

• How many feet of pay were encountered?

The company responded via email saying it was not in a position to speak on the well at this stage.

“We have not yet published any information re: Victoria yet but I will let you know once we have more information. However, this will likely not be in time for your story,” a BHP spokesman said.

BHP’s deepwater drilling campaign is crucial to T&T’s future oil and gas production because it is believed to be the place where the country has the best chance of making the kinds of massive oil and gas discoveries seen in West Africa and Guyana.

BHP Billiton is the operator of all the deepwater blocks that have so far been awarded and has drilled three wells in deepwater, inclusive of Victoria 1. They have so far made a major natural gas discovery but the second well, which was drilled closer to Tobago, failed and there has been a lot of hope that more gas and possibly oil will be discovered on the same block where the Le Clerc well was drilled and natural gas found.

A confidential document produced by the Ministry of Energy alluded to the importance of the BHP drilling campaign.

The document stated: “Three deepwater exploration wells are forecast to be drilled in 2018-2019. Two of these wells are to be drilled in Block TTDAA 5 to test the Magellan Gas Play which was discovered via Le Clerc-1 exploration well in 2016. The other well is to be drilled within Block TTDAA 14 to explore for hydrocarbons at various levels based on subsurface data.”

The Magellan Gas Play was the name given to the sands by BHP because it is the first time it was seen in T&T.

BHP is the operator of TTDAA 5 with Royal Dutch Shell as its partner and in Block TTDAA 14 it is the operator with bpTT as its partner.

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