Last update: 05-Dec-2013 12:18 pm
Thursday, December 05, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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T&T team promotes offshore auction in Houston
Energy Minister Kevin Ramnarine led a T&T delegation to Houston, Texas, on Friday to drum up support for the upcoming offshore auction. The team met with potential investors in a share of six deep-water fields T&T plans to develop. Ramnarine said the auction is the second he has overseen as minister and he believes the decision to use production sharing contracts, in which the government splits the produced oil with other investors, will add to the offer’s appeal. “We have reinvested the upstream and opened up the deep water for exploration,” he said in an interview. “There are now six production sharing contracts—all six have my signature on them. There will be more to come from this bidding round.” Other efforts by the government to attract investment, such as lowering the tax rate for production, will also increase the auction’s chance of success, Ramnarine said.
The round will offer six offshore blocks for lease on Trinidad’s east coast area and in the offshore area northeast of Venezuela. The blocks cover about 15,400 square miles with water depths from 2,000 to 11,000 feet. Bids will be accepted through January 2014. Just as plans for the bid round go into high gear, the land-based bid round will be ending on Thursday. It is the first since the late 1990s when the bid round led to the Carapal Ridge discovery in the Central Block which is now being operated by British Gas. According to a release from the Energy Ministry, it is expected that there will be a high degree of interest in this latest onshore bid round from companies already operating locally, as well as new entrants.At the launch of the 2013 Deepwater Bid Round in May, Ramnarine had said: “We have an onshore bid round currently in progress and ending on October 31, and for which 15 data packages have been sold thus far.”
The Ministry formally launched the 2013 onshore bid round on May 16 with the publication of the Petroleum Regulations (Onshore Competitive Bidding) Order, 2013. Three exploration and Production Licences are being offered in this round of bidding, representing approximately 150,000 acres of state lands in Trinidad’s prolific Southern Basin. These consist of the Rio Claro Block (74,954 acres), the Ortoire Block (44,731 acres) and the St Mary’s Block (37,760 acres). These acreages offer a range of opportunities related to block sizes, production potential and hydrocarbon play types. There is a wealth of well and seismic data that should reduce the risk and time of exploration and the blocks are located in a proven commercial hydrocarbon province within close proximity to existing infrastructure and producing fields. Successful bidders will be issued exploration and production licences and will also enter into a joint operating agreement with state-owned Petrotrin which will also have a 20 per cent carry in all three blocks on offer.
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