With the first floating production storage and offloading (FPSO) for the Liza Phase 1 project under construction in Singapore, Exxon and its partners are not only far advanced in the approval process for a larger second FPSO for Liza Phase 2, but also actively considering a third FPSO for Guyana.
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In early January, Exxon Mobil Corporation announced positive results from its Ranger-1 exploration well, marking ExxonMobil’s sixth oil discovery offshore Guyana since 2015. The Ranger-1 well discovery adds to previous world-class discoveries at Liza, Payara, Snoek, Liza Deep and Turbot, which are estimated to total more than 3.2 billion recoverable oil-equivalent barrels. ExxonMobil affiliate, Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Limited, began drilling the Ranger-1 well on November 5, 2017 and encountered approximately 230 feet (70 metres) of high-quality, oilbearing carbonate reservoir. The well was safely drilled to 21,161 feet (6,450 meters) depth in 8,973 feet (2,735 meters) of water.
Successful plant maintenance turnarounds in the downstream petrochemical and heavy industrial sector are key to the successful longterm operation of facilities. These turnarounds (or TARs as they are commonly called in the industry) are also key business opportunities for the myriad of service companies and contractors who support the industry. TARs are also important for the thousands of contract workers who pick up temporary employment during these periods, often working long hours and accumulating significant overtime income.
Ammonia prices have rebounded. This rebound comes after a low in August when it dipped below 150 US$/tonne. According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the price continued the upward trend at the end of the year due to lower supplies in the Black Sea where portions of ammonia were diverted to produce urea.
Earlier this month, Prime Minister, Dr. the Honourable Keith Rowley, delivered an address to the nation. While the address touched on several economic issues facing the country, there was specific mention of the future of the energy sector and in particular, the role that the state oil company, Petrotrin, plays in the economy. Dr. Rowley stated, ‘Petrotrin has contributed significantly to the growth and development of Trinidad and Tobago but is now in need of fundamental restructuring, which cannot be put off any longer’.
Well-deserved and hearty congratulations are extended to Process Components Limited (Procom) and Massy Technologies Applied Imaging (Trinidad) Ltd. who each got a perfect score of 100 per cent in each Safe TO Work (STOW) element at their 2017 recertification audits. STOW is a certification programme for contractors’ health, safety and environmental (HSE) management systems (MS) which involves contractors implementing the locally developed STOW HSE requirements and undergoing an independent audit to verify compliance to the requirements.
While the country continues to struggle to meet its renewable energy targets by 2021, the Government of Trinidad and Tobago has made a first step in the direction of diversifying its energy mix for electricity away from 100 per cent natural gas-fired power plants. Earlier in September, the Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries issued a request for the submission of expressions of interest (EOI) for a waste-to-energy (WtE) facility at the Beetham Landfill site.
One of the arguments used by proponents of fossil fuel subsidies in Trinidad and Tobago is that the gasoline or diesel that they put into their tanks is produced in the country and, therefore, belongs to them and should be provided to them at a low price. In reality, on average, more than half of the hydrocarbon molecules going into any gasoline or diesel tank will actually have been produced in another country and imported to Trinidad and Tobago to be refined at the Point-a-Pierre refinery. The hydrocarbon molecules going into your tank could be from Trinidad and Tobago, but they also could be from Russia, Gabon, Brazil or Colombia.
Shell’s activity in Trinidad and Tobago is set to accelerate over the next few years, with two rigs due to be simultaneously in operations for the first time in the recent history of the asset (which was brought into the Shell Trinidad & Tobago Limited portfolio through their purchase of BG Group). The recent acquisition by Shell Trinidad & Tobago Limited of Chevron’s interests in Trinidad and Tobago has allowed them to make investment decisions on new activity off Trinidad’s east coast without having to seek the agreement of a partner. This has been important in unlocking the new investment in upstream gas production.
Over 96 per cent of service companies reported that they were affected by late payments and that they had receivables in excess of 60 days, according to a survey of contractors and service companies conducted by the Energy Chamber of Trinidad and Tobago. In addition, 58 per cent of respondents said that the impact on their companies was very significant.
Currently, the local energy landscape is challenged as there exists a natural gas supply shortfall in the local energy sector, primarily as a result of depleting reservoirs (mature province); easy discoveries already found; little exploration contributing to the gas supply challenge; limited access to good quality and low cost seismic data and long negotiation period for gas contracts.
With the government already having announced its intention to remove the transport fuel subsidy, there is now a new focus on the cost of the electricity subsidy in Trinidad and Tobago. The cost of this subsidy has been largely ignored in the past as it was borne, not by the central government, but by The National Gas Company of Trinidad and Tobago Ltd. (NGC). However, with gas shortages plaguing the petrochemical and LNG sectors, and with NGC seeing its margins being squeezed by low commodity prices in the downstream and higher natural gas sales prices being demanded by the upstream, this issue has come to the fore.
Touchstone Exploration, the Toronto-listed oil and gas firm made its debut on London’s Alternative Investment Market (AIM) raising £1.45 million by placing 20 million new shares priced at £7.25 per share. In a company press release, President and Chief Executive Officer Paul Baay said access to London’s capital markets will be a boon to the firm’s future success.