A dozen companies have accessed the data room set up by the Trinidad & Tobago government to obtain information regarding the forthcoming bid round featuring 17 deep-water exploration blocks.

Energy Minister Stuart Young unveiled the information at a ceremony in Port of Spain to mark the official launch of the 2021 competitive bid round, which has been delayed in the wake the Covid-19 pandemic and resulting market volatility.

“We have opened our data room in July and so far 12 companies have accessed it,” said Young without providing the names of the operators, but adding the government remains committed to increasing the country’s hydrocarbons production.

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Trinidad & Tobago is offering 17 blocks — 23 (b), 24, 25 (a), 25 (b), 26, 27, TTDA 1, 2, 4, 8, 9, 11, 15, 25, 26, 28 and 29 — located off the northern and eastern coasts in water depths of over 1000 metres.

The round will be opened for six months, with the deadline for submission of offers scheduled for 2 June 2022.

Deep-water exploration in Trinidad & Tobago began in 1996 when four blocks were awarded to foreign investors. The first well, Haydn-1, was drilled in 1999.

The exploration campaign continued and from 2000 to 2003 another seven deep-water wells — Adelpha-1, Dynamine-1, Catfish-1, Callicore-1, Heliconius-1, Peppersauce-1 and Liszt-1 — were drilled.

Another nine deep-water blocks were successfully auctioned off between 2012 and 2014.

Drilling of wells including Le Clerc-1, Burrokeet-2, Bongos-2, Tuk-1, Bele-1, Boom-1, Hi-Hat-1, Carnival-1, Victoria-1, Concepcion-1 and Broadside-1 have resulted in discoveries totalling about 6.6 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

Gas production in Trinidad & Tobago has fallen last year to its lowest level in more than a decade, as operations were affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The country produced 1.09 Tcf in 2020, down 13.4% from 1.26 Tcf in 2019, although numbers are expected to increase this year.

UK supermajor BP accounts for approximately 59% of gas output in Trinidad and Tobago, followed by Shell, EOG Resources and BHP.

During the round launch, consultancy firm Ryder Scott revealed that Trinidad and Tobago proven gas reserves declined last year, despite increase in volumes from fields such as Angelin, Bele, Ginger and Parula.

According to Ryder Scott vice president Herman Acuna, Trinidad & Tobago gas reserves fell from 10.7 Tcf in 2019 to 10.2 Tcf in 2020.

The report showed the incorporation of discovered covered just 56% of proven gas reserves in 2020, compared to 113% in 2019.