Recently released figures from the Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries have confirmed that average gas production in 2017 was up slightly from the previous year. While the year-on-year increase in total production was just 1 per cent, it represents the first year-on-year increase in average production since 2013. 

The increase in production has been led by BPTT, driven by two major capital investment projects coming on-stream. The Trinidad Onshore Compression (TROC) project came on-stream in April 2017, followed by the Juniper project in August 2017. These two projects helped lift BPTT’s total production back up to 2.3 billion cubic feet of gas per day by the end of the year. BPTT’s average production in 2017 was 12 per cent above their 2016 figures. BPTT remains by far the biggest gas producer in the country and accounted for 56 per cent of total production in 2017. 

While the increase in supply is positive news for the sector, overall production averaged just 3.4 bcf/d which is still far short of the total installed demand of over 4 bcf/d. While BPTT saw its production increase with new projects coming on-stream, this was offset by continued natural field decline from other operators. 

One interesting development in 2017 was that EOG Resources (EOG) overtook Shell to become the second largest gas producer in the country, at least for the moment. With Shell’s Starfish project due to come on-stream in the next few months, Shell may return to the position of second biggest gas producer, which was held by its predecessor company, BGTT, for many years. EOG managed to maintain its production over 500 mmscf/d for most of 2017, while Shell saw its production fluctuate from a high of 619mmscf/d in February to a low of 253mmscf/d in October. 

Increased gas production has obviously been positive news for the gas-starved liquefied natural gas (LNG) and petrochemical sectors in Trinidad and Tobago. LNG, methanol and ammonia production have all shown year-on-year increases. A final figure for ammonia has not yet been released by the Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries, but methanol saw positive gains with a production increase of almost 6.8 per cent. LNG production showed an average year-on-year increase of 2.7 per cent.