Government receives 16 bids for onshore oil exploration

The content originally appeared on: News Americas Now

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Minister of Energy Stuart Young, centre, and, from left, senior state counsel Louise Poy Wing, senior geologist Keon Dube, Ministry of Energy permanent secretary Penelope Bradshaw-Niles, Ag PS Sandra Fraser and senior geologist Kimberlee London, stand behind the white box containing the bid entrees for Trinidad and Tobago Onshore and Nearshore Competitive Bid Round 2022, at the ministry at the International Waterfront Centre, in Port of Spain on Monday. Photo by Roger Jacob

SIXTEEN bids were made by oil companies to explore some of the 11 blocks onshore and nearshore on offer in south Trinidad, when tenders were open on Monday at the Ministry of Energy in Port of Spain. Eight oil companies submitted 16 bids for eight blocks. However, three blocks attracted no interest.

Energy Minister Stuart Young, talking later to reporters, welcomed the number of bids as unsurprising and as a show of confidence by the companies in TT’s energy landscape.

Young in his opening remarks said companies would soon be allowed to bid for 20 shallow water blocks, in Q1 of 2023, (with deep water bid rounds launched last December.)

He said TT had produced three billion barrels of crude oil in its long 100-year history in the sector, yet the Government still wants to attract more exploration.

Young said the geology at the blocks under bid offered “significant untapped potential.” He said his ministry had offered companies extensive data regarding the blocks and had promoted the bid round including at international conferences. Young said the Government had updated the sector’s system of tax and royalties. While the onshore and nearshore bid rounds had run for six months, he promised a notification of the results in three months. Each contract will be awarded for six years in the first instance, with possible renewal for 25 years and then for periods of five years.

A map shows the exploration blocks on offer in south Trinidad during the Onshore and Nearshore Competitive Bid Round 2022. Photo by Roger Jacob

Young said the bid rounds were done to benefit the entire country and its future generations, and said despite a tendency in TT for people to tend to personalise things, the reality of energy sector administration was more akin to a revolving door. Young thanked oil companies for still having confidence in TT despite it being a mature province, that is, with much oil already extracted.

Reporters asked about this plethora of onshore/nearshore bids, in contrast to just four bids being made on 17 blocks in deep water last June, all four of which were by a bpTT/Shell consortium. He replied that this was not surprising as blocks on land were easier to explore than those in deep waters, even as deep-water areas lack requisite infrastructure for exploration.

Not all bidding companies had a representative present to ceremonially sign their bid as witnesses to the proceedings but Young assured reporters those bids still remained legally valid.

Out of the 16 bids, company representatives were present to sign off on ten bids. For six bids, no representative was present from Eco Oil and Gas Solutions and Hunter Resources Corporation. An unfazed Young said firms without a representative present were thought to be foreign-based.

Primera Oil and Gas Ltd submitted the most bids, for five blocks, namely Cipero, Tulsa, Charuma, St Mary’s and Guayaguayare Onshore.

Eco Oil and Gas Solutions bid for three blocks – Tulsa, Cipero and Guayaguayare Onshore.

Hunter Resources Corporation made three bids – Buenos Ayres, South West Peninsula Onshore and St Mary’s.

Decker Petroleum Marketing Company Ltd and AV Oil and Gas Ltd each made one bid, that is for St Mary’s.

NABI Construction bid only for Aripero.

Challenger Energy Group bid only for Guayaguayare Onshore.

Trinity Exploration and Production TT Ltd bid for only Buenos Ayres.

No company bid for the Cory D, Cory F and South West Peninsula Offshore blocks.