In an interview with Proactive Investors UK earlier this year, Chairman of Columbus Energy Resources plc (Columbus), Leo Koot, said that this was the year for which they have been waiting. 

This powerful statement at the time related to the increase in production for the company to achieve over 1,000 bopd in Trinidad and Tobago at the end of 2018. 

While Trinidad and Tobago’s total production of crude oil is still declining, some companies like Columbus are looking at initiatives to improve production. Other companies like Range Resources and Touchstone Exploration have in the past engaged in water floods for improved recovery. 

This month, Columbus told investors on the London Stock Exchange that they have received the green light for enhanced oil recovery (EOR) using carbon dioxide (CO2) injection at the Innis-Trinity field. 

State oil company, Heritage Petroleum, gave the go ahead for the pilot project as Columbus operates under an incremental production service contract (IPSC) for the field. The company’s subsidiary FRAM Exploration is the operator of the field. 

Columbus is also engaging with Predator Oil and Gas (Predator) to execute the project. 

In the investor update, the company indicated that Predator will fund and help plan a CO2-enhanced oil recovery pilot project. The company also stated that as part of the agreement, with successful implementation of the pilot project, Predator has the right to purchase FRAM for US$4.2 million. 

According to Koot, ‘The company looks forward to working with Heritage and Predator to advance the CO2 pilot project. We believe the CO2 pilot project on Inniss-Trinity will give all parties a valuable insight into an alternative enhanced oil recovery mechanism for Trinidad and has the potential to transform oil and gas operations in the Inniss-Trinity field and in similar fields in Trinidad." 

According to Columbus, the Inniss-Trinity field is a legacy field that has already produced a cumulative 23MMBO since being first developed. Since taking over the field from Petrotrin in 2014 under an IPSC, production has peaked at over 220bopd. The field has the potential for further improved recovery through enhanced oil recovery methods including CO2 injection. 

The Innis-Trinity field is a mature field producing from Herrera turbidite sands and current reserves are 4.0 MMbbls. 

Combined planning of well optimisation, well reactivation and stimulations with ongoing Goudron operations is occurring, including the benefits of active joint inventory optimisation to fast-track positive gains and reduce incremental costs. 

The facilitation of the planned pilot injection of CO2 as an enhanced oil recovery methodology, suited to the Inniss-Trinity field, is actively being planned with Predator Oil and Gas. 

The Energy Chamber of Trinidad and Tobago (Energy Chamber) recently held a luncheon on boosting oil production in March. Feature speaker and independent oil producer and energy consultant, Dr. Krishna Persad, presented on initiatives for a carbon dioxide policy for enhanced oil recovery. 

Dr. Persad indicated that EOR through CO2 is a viable opportunity for Trinidad and Tobago especially given its carbon footprint and its relatively close location to onshore fields. He said that CO2 is produced in large quantities as a byproduct of the ammonia sector and also as flue gas from other manufacturing operations and power generation, and the vast majority is vented into the atmosphere. 

To use the CO2 from the Point Lisas Industrial Estate, there will be need for policy and regulation from the government. He also said that additional infrastructure will also be needed for purification of the gas, and transmission and distribution to the field. 

In the 1980s, CO2 from ammonia was used for EOR, however, the project did not continue due to failure of the pipeline. 

Dr. Persad indicated that there are significant quantities of oil in place onshore Trinidad still, and using enhanced oil recovery is critical for extracting the resource. This, he says, is critical for increasing oil production in the country. 

He also indicated that the government should change the rules and require companies to abandon wells of depleted fields. He said that they should ensure that wells are suspended or kept in a manner which will facilitate future EOR/sequestration.