The Dominican Republic (Dom Rep) wants help from Trinidad and Tobago to establish a hydrocarbon industry. 

This was made clear by the Spanish speaking Caribbean country’s Minister of Energy and Mines, Dr. Antonio Isa Conde, who visited Trinidad and Tobago with a team of officials to address the Energy Chamber’s mid- January Energy Conference. 

He paid generous tribute to Trinidad and Tobago’s expertise in the oil and gas sector, noting that Dom Rep could learn “a lot” from its energy-rich fellow Caribbean state. 

Minister Isa Conde noted that Trinidad and Tobago was “our biggest gas supplier and our second largest supplier of hydrocarbons behind only the US. For us, it would be a tremendous opportunity to learn from another Caribbean country that has been so successful in the extractive industry of hydrocarbons.” 

He didn’t mention it but 14 years ago, Trinidad and Tobago extended its first hand of friendship as far as hydrocarbon development was concerned when it sent a two-member team, comprising Helena Inniss-King, now retired from the Ministry of Energy and Godfrey Ransome, then of The National Gas Company Limited (NGC), to Santo Domingo to, as noted in the team’s report, “examine the current state of the upstream petroleum sector and make appropriate recommendations aimed at revitalising the exploration sector.” 

Many of these recommendations have been introduced, though fitfully, including “the drafting of appropriate laws within a broad legal framework to form the basis for management of the petroleum industry” and “the establishment of a comprehensive data base management system to facilitate rapid online data access for both onsite and offshore locations.” 

On the basis of those and other actions, Dom Rep is now in a position to launch its first properly-organised bid round initiative. 

Tenders will go out “in the second quarter of 2016,” the Minister announced, stressing that he would like to see “all companies, including those based in Trinidad and Tobago, take part in this exercise.” 

The key question, of course, is – are there any real prospects of finding oil and gas deposits in Dom Rep? 

Minister Isa Conde seems convinced there are. 

“These days, we have a better idea than ever regarding our hydrocarbon potential,” he insists. “I can assure everyone, without fear of contradiction, that all seems to indicate we have a good, working petroleum system and we have a substantial amount of available initial information that we estimate as more than enough to re-launch the policy of exploration and production of hydrocarbons in the Dominican Republic.” 

The national database of hydrocarbons was drawn up with technical assistance from Schlumberger and includes 12,000-line kilometres of digital 2D seismic. 

 

Dom Rep’s confidence in a future energy producing sector is not simply wishful thinking: in its Azua basin in the west, a well produced 500 b/d a few decades ago, until it had to be shut-in after water began replacing the oil.