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Trinidad and Tobago’s proven crude oil reserves have increased by more than 20 million barrels according to a recent audit done by Netherland, Sewell and Associates Inc, Energy Minister Franklin Khan has revealed.

Khan said in addition to this the audit states that T&T’s probable and possible reserves have also increased significantly.

He said this is a hopeful sign. The audit was as at December 31, 2018.

“All categories of Reserves increased between the 2012 audit and the 2018 audit. Proved Reserves jumped by 10.3 per cent from 199.5 million barrels to 220.1 million barrels. Probable Reserves rose by 16.6 per cent from 85.5 million barrels to 99.7 million barrels and Possible Reserves climbed by 8.5 per cent from 124.8 million barrels to 135.5 million barrels,” Khan said.

“The 20.6 million barrel increase in Proved Reserves is a hopeful sign, and is thanks to the maturity of, and operator commitment to proved undeveloped opportunities onshore Trinidad and in the West Coast Marine Area,” he said.

Khan said the nation’s Contingent Resources also rose by 17.2 per cent—from 58 million barrels in 2012 to 68 million barrels in 2018.

“A 36.8 per cent decrease in the estimates for the East Coast Marine Area between audits was offset by a 25.7 million barrel addition from Onshore Trinidad in 2018.

He said this contribution came from several well-known fields such as Barrackpore, Penal and Parrylands, as well as one operational and one proposed flooding project.

“I’m proud to announce that NSAI’s independent, Best Estimate of our Unrisked Prospective Resources is now a mammoth 3.2 billion barrels. This is an increase of 773.4 per cent over the Unrisked Prospective Resources at 1 January 2012 of only 368.2 million barrels. This notable Resource estimate, more than 90 per cent of which was identified in the Deepwater would not be possible without the achievements of BHP and its partner Shell in acquiring, processing and interpreting prospects identified in the Southerly Deepwater Blocks,” Khan said.

‘With the Invictus drillship now in transit to Trinidad and Tobago from the Gulf of Mexico to drill the Broadside prospect, a commercial discovery in any of its several stacked Miocene targets, would de-risk the prospective resources identified by NSAI significantly and be very good news for Trinidad and Tobago,” he said.

Khan said when the proven reserves of condensate for 2018, estimated by the Ryder Scott Company, are added to the proven crude oil reserves, our proven reserves of crude oil and condensate are 256.9 million barrels.

This exceeds the figure at 1 January 2012 by 14.0 million barrels or 5.7 per cent, he said.

“Upward Revisions based on better production performance and committed projects resulted in a reserves replacement ratio of 107.2 per cent between audits. The reserves to production ratio based on the oil and condensate production and reserves in 2018 on a proved basis is 11.1 years,” he said.

“This is an increase of 54.2 per cent from the 2012 figure of 7.2 years. This change is in part due to the decreased production of 23.2 million barrels in 2018, which was 10.4 million barrels less than was produced in the year preceding the 2012 audit. But our significantly higher proved reserves of crude oil and condensate in 2018, relative to 2012 was another factor,” Khan said.

Khan said besides the potential oil windfall in the Deepwater, since the December 31, 2018 cut-off date for this audit there have been several encouraging oil discoveries and continued exploration and development by operators that can have a positive impact on reserves.

He highlighted:

· BHP’s Block 3a Ruby field, which will boost the country’s production by 15,000 bopd in 2022, has been approved and could be promoted from Contingent Resources to Reserves in a future oil audit.

· Exploration is continuing in the 2013 Onshore Competitive Bid Round Blocks of Ortoire and Rio Claro as Touchstone and Lease Operators Limited respectively follow up on the Barakat, Coho, Cascadura discoveries.

· Columbus Energy announced in April an oil discovery in the Lower and Middle Cruse sands at the Saffron Well, located in the South West Peninsula.

· The 2020 DeepWater Nomination Period is almost completed and should result in a Competitive Bid Round that would permit the continued development of reserves and resources for the future.

· Trinmar began using the Mobile Offshore Production and Compression Unit (MOPU) since December 2019 to perform production and compression duties. It is expected to add approximately 1,840 bopd on average incremental production for 2019/2020.

Asked if he thought with the potential increase in Heritage production and the additional 15,000 barrels of oil per day from BHP if he thought this country’s production could return to 100,000 bo/d, Khan said with some luck it was possible.

The Energy Minister said the Year End 2019 Trinidad and Tobago Natural Gas Reserves Audit Report is in final draft form and will be completed in a matter of a week or two.