Better times are in store for the man in the street following the "Jubilee" oil discovery off south-west Trinidad, estimated at 48 million barrels, Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar has assured. Persad-Bissessar spoke about what the new oilfield-off Point Fortin-would mean for the public as she flanked Petrotrin officials announcing the oil find yesterday. The announcement was the focus of the weekly post-Cabinet media briefing, which was attended by the entire Cabinet. The Prime Minister dubbed the new oil field the "Jubilee Discovery" in honour of this year's 50th anniversary of Independence. Petrotrin president-designate Khalid Hassanali, announcing the find, said it was the first major oil discovery in ten years and would be of major economic benefit. The last discovery was in the mid-1980s, also off the south-west coast near Soldado. Hassanali said preliminary estimates project the new reserves at 48 million barrels.
The find was located four miles off the west coast of Trinidad in 60 feet of water. It is an area known as Cluster Six in Petrotrin's Trinmar Gulf of Paria acreage. The find is at a depth of 4,000-4,500 feet and is close to offshore infrastructure. Hassanali said the average well on land produces at less than ten barrels of oil per day (BOPD), and the average marine well produces at less than 75 BOPD. "By comparison, our new wells tested at initial production rates of an impressive 700 BOPD," he added. Hassanali said the oil discovered was both light crude-a more marketable type-and heavy crude. He said the light crude would be used to dilute the heavy crude for a better marketable formula. Petrotrin intends commencing production of the wells already drilled in the next 12 months. Carol Telemacque, of Petrotrin, said the oil find was made during last year's Petrotrin drilling programme. She said it was not proven reserves in the international standard and that testing and evaluation of the area was still being done.
Telemacque said that by year end, Petrotrin would be able to say with greater certainty what is the output from the area and if the company can make it fully commercial" in the larger sense." Persad-Bissessar said: "This golden anniversary year was indeed marked by this significant find as oil is often referred to as black gold." "There will be no squandering of these precious resources...Every penny derived will go towards genuine people-centred development in several areas," she added. Persad-Bissessar said of the find: "What does this mean for the man in the street...In a phrase, "better times in the best of initiatives that will benefit you." She said the historic discovery of oil reserves comes at a time of high oil prices on the global market and augured well for T&T in several ways.The Prime Minister said the activity would derive several significant benefits. She said this revenue would be used to bolster many of the Government's planned developmental projects. She said benefits to be derived would impact positively on T&T's economy sooner than ever, because of the location and depth of the reserves which would allow for earlier than usual production to begin. Persad-Bissessar said the Jubilee Discovery would also be welcome stimulation of demand for energy services and job creation in that sector and would create a buzz in the energy sector.
Officials unsure of revenue yield
Petrotrin officials could not estimate what sort of projected revenue the find would mean for T&T. The company's president, Lindsay Gillette, noting oil prices were as high as US$100, projected they would remain high around US$80-plus because of high global demand for oil. Telemacque said the find might have not been made in earlier years since technology might not have been available to spot this. Energy Minister Kevin Ramnarine said an extensive testing and evaluation programme was currently under way and would confirm the future of the area where the oil was discovered. Hassanali said Petrotrin believed that the reservoirs penetrated in the newly-appraised acreage extend further to the north and further towards the west. "Petrotrin therefore plans to continue exploring and appraising these areas, with a view to growing its oil reserves," he added. Hassanali and Gillette both said the find was "a quantum leap" for Petrotrin to meet the Energy Ministry's mandate to increase oil production. Ramnarine noted other recent finds, including the Bayfield discovery. He said that development coupled with the Jubilee Discovery held out "exciting prospects and opportunities" for T&T. Ramanarine said Petrotrin was engaged in the last year in a $700 million drilling programme involving 21 wells in the Trinmar acreage. He also said Cabinet yesterday approved the 2012 bid rounds.