Chairman of Petrotrin, Professor Andrew Jupiter, indicated that the state oil company has pre-qualified 29 firms for enhanced oil recovery (EOR). Speaking at the Enhancing Oil and Gas Recovery symposium hosted by the Energy Chamber and the University of Trinidad and Tobago, Professor Jupiter revealed the intention to boost oil production by Petrotrin in a number of areas both onshore and offshore. 

Professor Jupiter said that Petrotrin is exploring a strategy to improve oil production. The company is seeking to partner with suitably qualified local and international firms that are interested in jointly designing and implementing EOR projects across all of their acreage. 

He said that Petrotrin advertised the expression of interest (EOI) to improve oil production and by the closure of the EOI on March 31st, they received 29 responses from China, Canada, England, USA and Trinidad and Tobago. The list is currently now being evaluated. Given the strong response rate, Professor Jupiter said that this was a strong indication of the appetite of the private sector, locally and abroad, to engage in EOR activity within Trinidad. 

He elaborated on what the EOR prize might be and what the potential volumes for recovery could be. He said that a recent study conducted by Bertrand, Hosein and Dawe indicated that there are significant heavy oil deposits that remain in existing acreage. The study revealed that there are approximately of 1 billion barrels of oil left in onshore areas and 2 billion barrels in offshore acreage.

The study also indicated that despite heavy oil production in Trinidad which started more than 100 years ago, estimates to date are that only 20% of the initial 1.5 billion onshore resources have been recovered. The study also says that heavy oil contributes about 30% (36,000 bopd) of the country's total oil production of about 110,000 bopd. Production from the onshore fields is about 16,000 bopd of which 70% is by primary recovery with the remainder coming from 20 steam floods and water alternating steam process (WASP) projects by steam flooding. 

Professor Jupiter went on to also discuss the possibility of bringing new gas into the system. He said that there are significant marginal fields in the country. He said that there are 18 fields that contain 100-300 bcf/d of gas. He also said that there are another 10 fields with 300-500 bcf/d and another 20 reservoirs with 100 bcf/d. 

He also said that you cannot produce from those marginal fields given the current taxation. He said the government can consider reducing petroleum profit tax (PPT) for marginal fields as this would encourage new entrants into the market. He said that for exiting producers, they can consider using current production as a base and reduce against PPT. 

At the symposium, other speakers also called for changes to the fiscal regime to encourage EOR and also producing more gas. Dr Krishna Persad and Wilson Lalla, also indicated that the fiscal regime needs to be adjusted to reduce the risk and encourage foreign direct investment.