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Shell to acquire Chevron’s Trinidad assets

31 May 2017 16:26 (+01:00 GMT)
Shell to acquire Chevron's Trinidad assets

Kingston, 31 May (Argus) — Chevron agreed to sell most of its gas-related assets in Trinidad and Tobago to Shell for $250mn.

The transaction is expected to close in June.

The assets include Chevron's 50pc interest in Shell-operated Block E, Block 5(a), and Block 6, located in the East Coast Marine Area off Trinidad, which encompasses the Dolphin, Dolphin Deep, and Starfish natural gas fields, in addition to a 50p stake in the Chevron-operated Manatee gas field.

Manatee is part of 10 Tcf Loran-Manatee, a field that straddles the maritime border between Trinidad and Venezuela. The two countries have already agreed on unitizing the resource and Chevron leads separate licenses on each side. The US major presented a conceptual development plan to the two governments in November 2016.

"Chevron does not anticipate any impact on the Loran-Manatee project. The governments of Trinidad and Tobago, Venezuela, and the partners (Venezuela state-owned) PDVSA, Chevron and Shell remain committed to progressing the development of this important project. Chevron will continue as operator of the Loran-Manatee unit," the US firm said.

The assets to be sold to Shell also include Chevron's 50pc stake in LNG marketing and transportation company Trinling.

"This is a welcome and expected consolidation of Shell's presence in the energy sector," an official of Trinidad's energy ministry told Argus today. "This will further allow Shell to integrate its operations through its ownership of LNG assets in the country, and its central role in delivering natural gas from Venezuela to Trinidad."

Shell is the leading shareholder in the 14.8mn t/yr Atlantic liquefaction complex at Point Fortin on the southwestern coast that operated at an average of just over 68pc of capacity last year because of a prolonged gas shortage.

Shell is currently negotiating with PdV and Trinidad's government-owned gas company NGC for a contract to develop a 17km pipeline to transport gas from Venezuela's Dragon field to Trinidad.

The purchase of Chevron's assets "will allow Shell to optimize its developments across the ECMA, a core component of Shell's interests in Trinidad and Tobago, supplying gas to both the domestic market and (LNG producer) Atlantic," the European major said.

The acquisition "represents a rich opportunity for us to continue building our integrated gas position in country and securing new competitive production," vice president of subsidiary Shell TT Derek Hudson said.

"Shell continues to actively evaluate other options to increase supply from our existing assets, as well as pursue additional opportunities such as the previously announced purchase of Centrica's interests in the North Coast Marine Area."

The Dolphin, Dolphin Deep and Starfish gas fields produced a net 74mn cf/d in 2016.

"These volumes were sold under long-term sales contracts to supply the domestic market and for LNG exports," the US firm said.

Shell's plans for the ECMA are aimed at "arresting production decline from existing fields," the company said in January 2017 in stating its interest in Chevron's assets. The plans include "contracting a platform rig for well interventions and an infill drilling programme."

Shell bought UK firm Centrica's assets in the ECMA in January 2016.

Trinidad produced 3.285bn cf/d of in the first quarter of this year, down 8.4pc from a year earlier.

This reduced LNG production in the period to 6.16mn m³, down 6.8pc year on year.