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Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley, centre, after the signing ceremony for an agreement between Heritage Petroleum and EOG Resources Trinidad Limited yesterday.

PETER CHRISTOPHER

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We still need more exploration.

This was the call yesterday from Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley at the signing ceremony for a joint operating and farmout agreement between Heritage Petroleum and EOG Resources Trinidad Limited .

The Prime Minister heaped praise upon the deal as well Heritage Petroleum’s progress since it began operations. But said he hoped for more production.

“With respect to onshore production, efforts also need to be focused on increasing production on land, because it is onshore production that creates greater levels of employment when compared to offshore production, and generates a product with a higher local value-added,” said the Prime Minister at the ceremony at Heritage Petroleum’s Port of Spain office.

“In this regard, I would like to see Heritage expand its lease operatorship programme and undertake a land drilling campaign of its own. We need the oil, we need the money, we need the jobs.”

The agreement between Heritage and EOG allows for a strategic partnership which will allow the company to farm into a portion of Heritage’s acreage within the Exploration and Production (Public Petroleum Rights) Licence covering the offshore Trinidad Northern Areas Block in the Gulf of Paria (under a TNA License).

The joint venture is expected to commence drilling its 1st exploration well this year, Heritage said in a release on the signing yesterday.

“I expect this partnership between Heritage and EOG to be a fruitful one, given the alignment of the strategic objectives of both parties, with EOG’s intent being to expand its operations in Trinidad and Tobago, and Heritage’s intent being to increase its production and develop its reserves in a timely manner,” he said.

EOG and Heritage have been partners in the South East Coast Consortium Block joint venture (offshore Trinidad) since 1992.

The Prime Minister said Heritage had performed above what had been achieved by Petrotrin since it began operations in 2018, while lauding the company’s ability to stay productive despite the disruptive impact of the pandemic and uncertainty within the energy sector.

“Just imagine that during a year with two black swan events, namely a pandemic and historically low energy prices dipping into negative territory, Heritage was able to maintain production levels above that of the former Petrotrin. Heritage had been doing so well prior to the pandemic that the company was in a position to store its production during the period of lowest market prices, while still meeting debt commitments and the costs of its operations,” said the Prime Minister.

“In addition to increasing production, Heritage has also been able to achieve lower lifting costs than its predecessor, in the range of US$28 per barrel, compared to US$35-38 under Petrotrin,” he said.