With energy prices the highest they have been in almost a decade, T&T continues to lose opportunity to fully benefit from them as the latest figures from the Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries show oil production averaging less than 60,000 barrels of oil per day (bo/d) and natural gas production at 2.72 billion standard cubic feet per day (bscf/d).
The figures were finally released by the Ministry of Energy last Monday and are still two months behind.
The production figures show that while crude output averaged 59,725 bo/d there was a decline each of the first three months of the year.
In January T&T’s average daily crude production was 61,678 bo/d, that declined in February to 59,406 bo/d and further fell in March to 58,059 bo/d.
A closer look at the figures show that the decline is in part caused by small changes in the production from Heritage Petroleum, Perenco and bpTT. At different months the production from each of the three entities fluctuated and caused the overall fall in crude production.
In terms of natural gas production, the trend is the same as crude oil with declines each month for the first three months of 2022.
In January the natural gas production was 2.870 bscf/d, it then fell to 2.769 bsc/d in February and to 2.520 bscf/d in March 2022.
The lower natural gas production for the first three months were as a result of lower production out of the country’s largest producers, Royal Dutch Shell and bpTT. In the case of Shell its production fell from 638 million standard cubic feet per day (mmscf/d) in January to 591 mmscf/d in February and 442 mmscf/d in March.
In the case of bpTT, its production fell from 1.391 bscf/d in January to 1.245 bscf/d in March. The other producers remained relatively stable.
The lower natural gas production has a direct impact on the downstream and LNG sectors with lower natural gas utilisation from all of the productive sectors and ironically the only sector with higher gas usage was in power generation which is subsidised by the government.
Put another way, more gas is being used that will cost government money while it reduces government earnings from the lack of sale of the very natural gas that government is subsidising in higher quantities.
The higher power generation usage is a direct result of a decision by T&TEC to reduce the amount of power it takes from TGU and increase its take from the two other power producers, Trinity power and Powergen. The challenge is that Powergen and Trinity are both less efficient in power production and utilises more molecules to generate power than TGU. T&TEC’s decision was based on its fear that there could be another island-wide blackout if it continues to rely mainly on TGU for power. The Minister of Public Utilities has publicly said it cannot continue and the NGC has been concerned about its inability to sell the very gas to ammonia producers instead of T&TEC which owes it billions and cant pay.
The figures shows that there was a decline in the amount of gas being used in ammonia production from 509 mmscf/d in January to 458 mmscf/d in March. Methanol usage fell from 589 mmscf/d in January to 508 mmscf/d in March. LNG declined from 1.344 bscf/d in January to 1.163 bscf/d in March while power generation surged from 228 mmscf/d to 262 mmscf/d.