Trinidad soon to decide on bids for deepwater gas exploration auction


PORT OF SPAIN, Nov 15 (Reuters) – Trinidad and Tobago’s Cabinet will make a decision soon on bids submitted for four deepwater exploration blocks that are key to expanding its natural gas production, Energy Minister Stuart Young said.

The Caribbean country earlier this year offered 17 blocks off the northern and eastern coasts in a competitive auction that attracted only four bids – all from a consortium of its existing operators. New gas supplies are urgently needed to boost the country’s liquefied natural gas (LNG) production.

The government originally had hoped to announce winners for the deepwater blocks in September but was delayed. Young, who spoke to Reuters last week, did not say when the Cabinet would make its decision.

Young’s comments came days after the newly named head of BP’s Trinidad and Tobago operation called for officials to speed up their evaluation.

Trinidad is Latin America’s largest LNG exporter, with capacity to process 4.2 billion cubic feet per day into LNG, petrochemicals and power. But its gas production is just under 3 billion cubic feet per day.

BP has operated in the near-shore Columbus basin for over 50 years and has discovered more than 2 billion barrels of oil and 25 trillion cubic feet of natural gas during that time.

“We do need to start now looking into the deepwater, bringing that forward as far as we possibly can,” Campbell said this month. “We are now looking forward to those being accelerated toward a decision.”

BP’s Trinidad and Tobago operation has been one of the best-performing producing assets in BP’s global operations in 2022, said Campbell.