Natural gas production from the Dragon natural gas field, located offshore the northeast coast of Venezuela, will soon reach the shores of the nearby twin-island nation of Trinidad and Tobago.
Venezuela is almost ready to begin production from the field, the second such offshore natural gas field to commence production in just as many years. The news couldn’t come at a better time for the government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, amid his country’s ongoing economic and political crises, and predictions by many analysts that the country could default on international debt obligations.
Eulogio Del Pino, the President of Petroleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA), said in an official Twitter post on September 23, 2016, that the Dragon field, part of the Mariscal Sucre offshore gas project, will produce an estimated 300 million cubic feet per day of natural gas from four wells. The field’s gas exports to Trinidad, which suffers from a large gas deficit, are slated to commence in late 2016 – or more likely, early in 2017 – according to four Venezuelan oil and gas sector executives with knowledge of the project’s development process, who cited dates proposed by PDVSA.
“Mariscal Sucre gas will allow Venezuela to become self-sufficient in gas and also become a gas exporting potential within Latin America,” said Del Pino during an interview with the government‘s Dando y Dando Radio in October of 2016. Future gas exports from Venezuela could also reach Ecuador, Colombia, Panama and the Caribbean – including Aruba and Curacao – according to Del Pino.
Paris-based Technip, which in late 2010 was awarded the engineering, procurement, construction and management (EPCM) contract by PDVSA for development of the Dragon/Patao portion of the Mariscal Sucre project, is reportedly in the final stages of installing subsea infrastructure related to the Dragon field. The contract is being executed by Technip’s North American engineering center and its Venezuelan affiliate, Estudios y Projectos Ditech, SA.
Media officials from Technip’s headquarters in France didn’t reply to e-mailed requests seeking comment for this article. Venezuela’s Information Ministry, which works as a clearinghouse for all questions related to the country, as well as PDVSA media officials in Caracas, also didn’t reply to e-mails seeking comment.
The Mariscal Sucre Dragon and Patao fields, located in water depths between 328- 427 feet (100-130 metres), are situated nearly 25 miles north of Venezuela’s Paria peninsula in Sucre state, according to Technip. PDVSA expects that production from the four fields which comprise the Mariscal Sucre project – Mejillones, Rio Caribe, Dragon and Patao – will reach 1.2 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas and 28,000 barrels per day of condensates. According to PDVSA, production will be destined for export markets, as well as Venezuela’s domestic market via the CIGMA gas plant located in Guiria in S ucre state.
“The Mariscal Sucre project is a giant step for the consolidation of the Gas Revolution,” wrote the PDVSA President, in another Twitter post in September of 2016.