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The El Dorado oil well, operated by Trinity Exploration and Production plc, has disappointed the company’s management by failing to yield oil and gas in commercial quantities. Trinity chief executive officer Monty Pemberton said company officials were “naturally disappointed that the El Dorado well has not yielded a commercial discovery”.
However, he added: “Trinity continues to focus on its infill drilling campaign, delivering first oil at our TGAL-1 discovery (in Galeota) in the shortest possible time frame and high grading our exploration portfolio for drilling additional exploration wells at the appropriate time. The Trinidadian upstream industry continues to evolve in a positive manner and Trinity is well positioned to capitalise on future opportunities to grow its portfolio.”
Trinity, the sole London-listed independent exploration and production (E&P) company chaired and run by T&T nationals—CEO Pemberton and executive chairman Bruce Dingwall—announced that “it has concluded drilling operations at its El Dorado exploration well within the Point Ligoure, Guapo Bay and Brighton (PGB) marine block license, offshore the West Coast of Trinidad”. With its 70 per cent interest in the block, Trinity is the operator. State-owned Petrotrin holds the remaining 30 per cent.
The El Dorado exploration well was spudded last December 6, utilising the WS-152 backup rig. The primary objective of the well was to test an undrilled fault block on the west flank of the Trinity operated Brighton field. The well was drilled to a total depth of 6,174 feet, and intersected a shallow gas sand in the Pliocene section and marginal thin bedded oil pay in the Miocene section.
“In aggregate approximately 13 feet of net oil sands, and 32 feet of net gas sands were encountered, however these are not deemed commercial and so the well will now be permanently plugged and abandoned,” the company said. The PGB licence was one of the original assets of the Dingwall-founded Ten Degrees North Operating Company Limited.
Months overdue, the licence was formally granted to Trinity only on December 18, 2012, at a signing ceremony with Petrotrin at the Ministry of Energy and Energy Affairs head office in Port of Spain.
Trinity also holds other licences in the geographic space. Its licence portfolio includes four onshore licences (WD-2, FZ-2, WD-16 and Guapo) which it acquired from Primera Oil & Gas Ltd in 2008. In 2011, Trinity also acquired the WD-5/6 lease operatorship. At the time, this had doubled the production base of the company. Trinity was also awarded the offshore Brighton Outer/Guapo license, significantly extending the company’s acreage position in the Gulf of Paria.
Also in 2011, Trinity concluded a renegotiation of the fiscal terms for its lease operatorship licenses, extending the term of the licenses and securing financial incentives to encourage increased drilling activity. These fiscal changes, which were implemented across all lease operatorships in Trinidad to the benefit of the wider industry, followed two years of negotiations with the Energy Ministry. The negotiations were led by Trinity on behalf of the industry.
The PGB licence covers an amalgamation of acreages which had previously been licensed to predecessor companies of both Petrotrin and Ten Degrees North. The marine block comprises a total of 6,390 hectares. At the time the block was said to be well placed in close proximity to existing infrastructure, making monetisation of any discovery potentially expeditious, and with relatively low upfront capital investment.
“This is an oil prone block and there is a high chance of a discovery which would lead to an increase in indigenous crude production and employment of nationals,” a statement from the ministry had said.
Under the licence, Trinity was to drill more than one exploratory well in the area. The drilling work programme called for the “drilling of three exploratory wells: one to a minimum depth of 5,000 feet true vertical depth subsea; one to a minimum depth of 5,000 feet true vertical depth subsea; (and) one additional exploration well may be drilled contingent on the results of the 3D seismic interpretation”.
Other terms of the licence included signature, environmental, production, technical equipment and commerciality bonuses. There were also provisions for the training of and granting of scholarships to nationals of T&T in fields associated with energy.