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BHP finds 4-5 Tcf of gas off Trinidad: minister

25 Oct 2017, 8.52 pm GMT

BHP finds 4-5 Tcf of gas off Trinidad: minister

Kingston, 25 October (Argus) — UK-Australian BHP has discovered 4 trillion to 5 trillion cf of natural gas in the deepwater LeClerc well off the east coast of Trinidad, energy minister Franklyn Khan said today.

The discovery is the first in the country's deepwater program.

Khan did not elaborate on his statement or provide any details on the LeClerc find.

BHP did not respond to a request for comment, but the firm said in January that LeClerc is a "large potential resource" that could start production in the early to mid-2020s.

The new gas deposit could alleviate the Caribbean state's gas shortage that has suppressed output of LNG, ammonia and methanol.

BHP operates nine deepwater blocks in Trinidad.

The blocks hold an estimated 10 trillion-40 trillion cf of gas and 2bn-8bn bl of crude, the energy ministry has said.

"This is an important development for the country and will ease the shortages of natural gas that have been having a damaging effect on the economy," an energy ministry official told Argus today.

The ministry is awaiting more details about the discovery, including production volumes, the official said.

BHP will drill two extension wells on LeClerc "sometime in 2018," the official added.

Trinidad's gas production has been falling since 2013, when it averaged 4.1 Bcf/d. The country's gas production averaged 3.292 Bcf/d in January-August, down 1.8pc on the 2016 period.

The country needs another 1bn cf/d to meet current demand, according to the ministry.

BHP started the oil-focused deepwater exploration campaign in May 2016 at the LeClerc prospect on block 5, 217km off the eastern coast of Trinidad.

LeClerc-1 was drilled to 5,771m and LeClerc ST1 to 6,973m.

BHP has a 65pc stake in block 5. Shell holds 35pc.

LeClerc is the second major gas discovery in Trinidad this year.

The country's biggest gas producer BP said in June it had discovered an estimated 2 Tcf of gas in place in two shallow-water wells, Savannah and Macadamia. The latter is

10km south of BP's producing Cashima field.

An additional 200mn cf/d of gas has been available since April 2017 from a compression project launched by BP to enhance low-pressure wells in the company's existing offshore acreage.

The company also started production in August from the offshore Juniper project that will deliver 590mn cf/d when it reaches peak production at an unspecified date.

And BP's shallow-water four-well Angelin project is expected to deliver 600mn cf/d starting in first quarter 2019, Trinidad finance minister Colm Imbert said last month.

The improved gas outlook for Trinidad comes amid apparent progress toward a deal with Venezuela to import gas.

Venezuela's president Nicolas Maduro will visit Trinidad "very shortly" to sign "definitive agreements" for sharing deposits that straddle the countries' maritime border, and for gas to be piped to Trinidad from Venezuela's Dragon field, the Trinidadian energy ministry official said.

Trinidad government officials have said the Venezuelan gas could begin to arrive in 2019.

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