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Could Trinidad And Tobago Become A Hotspot For Oil In The Caribbean?

BHP has commenced oil production in Trinidad and Tobago in the next big energy development in the Caribbean.

After recent successes in Guyana and Suriname’s energy sectors, Australian firm BHP has begun production on its $500M Ruby Project, located in shallow water in Block 3(a) within the Greater Angostura Field. 

The project will see gas and oil being produced from the Ruby and Delaware reservoirs via five production wells offshore Trinidad and Tobago. Several more wells are expected to be drilled in the area by the end of the year. 

Peak production levels are expected to be around 16,000 bpd of oil and 2.26mn m³/d of gas, upon completion of the development.  

Geraldine Slattery, President of BHP, stated “The start-up of Ruby represents the continued development of BHP’s oil and gas production facilities in Trinidad and Tobago, re-enforces the quality of the resource and its investment competitiveness.”

BHP will operate the Ruby development holding a 68.46 percent stake, with the National Gas Company of Trinidad and Tobago (NGC) holding a 31.54 percent stake. NGC has signed a contract with BHP allowing the national company to buy 100 percent of the gas produced in the Ruby development to expand its natural gas portfolio. 

Mark Loquan, President of NGC, stated of the project, “NGC has been working closely and conscientiously with upstream operators, both as a value chain stakeholder and Joint Venture partner in several developments, to advance work programs and bring more gas into the pipeline. It is extremely heartening to see that work bearing fruit. The announcement of the first oil from Ruby signals important progress on an important project. We look forward to more positive news from the field and expect associated gas production which would contribute to further stability in supply. This is promising news for our downstream sector, for our Company, and for the country.” 

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While other countries faced difficulties in oil production throughout 2020, Trinidad and Tobago were able to maintain pre-pandemic production levels of around 55-60,000 bpd. Trinidad has also upheld its status as a regional leader in energy production, both oil and gas, with 728 million barrels of proven crude oil reserves identified in 2016. 

However, neighboring countries are now catching up as oil majors invest heavily in Suriname and Guyana. Guyana has become a hub for foreign investment following Exxon Mobil Corp’s discovery of over 8 billion barrels of oil and gas in the offshore Stabroek Block in 2020. And just last month Exxon released a statement announcing a new discovery, which will likely increase this figure substantially. Four Exxon developments are expected between now and 2025.  

In Suriname, oil production is expected to commence by 2025 from the first of five discoveries made offshore in the past year. The delay reflects the undeveloped nature of the country’s oil industry, which is expected to boom over the next decade. ExxonMobil, Total and Apache all have a stake in Suriname’s oil sector, as well as smaller partner companies.  

With new developments across the Caribbean region, Trinidad and Tobago, Suriname and Guyana have stolen the spotlight from big Latin American oil states as oil majors look to invest in the largely underdeveloped energy industry across the region. 

By Felicity Bradsrtock for Oilprice.com

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