Trinidad’s deepwater auction: 13 of 17 blocks receive no bids

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Trinidad and Tobago’s deepwater auction concluded on the final day of the Trinidad and Tobago Energy Conference, Thursday. Companies showed little interest, submitting bids for just four of 17 blocks.

Information received from the Energy Chamber of Trinidad and Tobago indicates that the blocks were bid on by a consortium of BP and BG/Shell. The consortium bid on Blocks 25B, 25A, 23B and 27.

The Deep Water Competitive Bid Round was opened on December 3, 2021 and ran for six months.

An exploration campaign by BHP Billiton, that recently merged with Woodside, estimated the licensed deepwater acreage to possess a proven 6.6 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of commercial natural gas. The merged company, Woodside, did not submit bids.

A 2020 natural gas reserves audit conducted by Ryder Scott Consultants had confirmed additional unrisked reserves of 4.5 tcf in a portion of the open deep-water acreage.

In a note encouraging companies to bid, the Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries had said there are several reasons to invest, including that cost recovery is capped at 80%, the Minister’s share of profit petroleum is biddable, and that the Minister pays the royalties and taxes out of his share of profit petroleum.

These terms do not appear to have been enough to lure in investors, as the Energy Chamber of Trinidad and Tobago recently released a six-point plan urging government to grant more attractive terms.

The blocks are expected to be awarded in the third quarter of 2022.

Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley said during the conference that government would review model fiscal terms.

Trinidad also launched an onshore bid round in September, with seven blocks up for auction. This round is ongoing.


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