Energy expert sheds new light on Trinidad’s natural gas reserves
As the debate on Trinidad and Tobago's natural gas reserves rages on, one of the country's most respected energy
experts is projecting that the country has enough natural gas to run four LNG trains but will need to tap into new
discoveries beyond that.
John Andrews, chairman of LNG producer Atlantic LNG, acknowledges that the country's proven reserves of about 23 tcf and 12 tcf of probable reserves are enough for current gas usage needs.
“Right now, proven and probable reserves are enough to drive all three (current) LNG trains and train IV for 20 years," Andrews says.
Atlantic LNG operates three producing trains at its Pt Fortin facility and is currently constructing a billion-dollar
fourth train which will export LNG to markets in the eastern United States. When it comes online in 2006, the fourth
train will be the largest LNG facility ever built and will make Trinidad and Tobago the fifth largest producer of LNG
in the world.
But already, there are discussions of a fifth LNG trainwhich, while a huge jump ahead, is not improbable in a few years. However, this will be the point where a discussion of gas reserves becomes dicey. Andrews admits that a fifth LNG trains, or even a sixth, will "require more gas discoveries".
Speaking to business executives during a meeting of the Port of Spain Rotary Club at the Queen's Park Oval in Port of
Spain, Andrews pointed to an additional "exploration potential" of gas reserves at about 65 tcf.
"Some of this would have to be converted," to supply a fifth LNG train or other gas-based developments being talked about now, he said.
Most of this additional gas could come from oil and gas giants like BPTT and British Gas which are developing offshore blocks off the South-East and the North coasts. Ten offshore blocks which were bid on by various energy companies may also yield gas reserves to supply developments.
There is anticipation that the development of cross-border reserves between Trinidad and Venezuela could also see
Venezuelan gas coming here. But it is certain that the country will require more gas discoveries to develop other
projects, Andrews says.
Earlier, South Chamber president Dr Jim Lee Young expressed concern about the country's reserves with respect to developing more gas-based projects. Prime Minister Patrick Manning countered by saying that the country's reserves were being managed well and there was a slew of potential new projects being actively discussed. Their difference of opinion has sparked considerable debate on just exactly how much gas the country has.
Andrews told that the huge demands for LNG, particularly in the United States, makes LNG expansion attractive.
Between 68-70 % of all of Atlantic's LNG is exported to the United States. Even this is just about 3 % of that
country's LNG requirements for heating and electricity generation.
And the demand is going to continue to increase. This has also made the offshore blocks very attractive to energy companies, Andrews said.