Find Oil and Gas expertise in Trinidad and Tobago
- EITI status
There are more than 30 active oil and gas fields, many of them offshore. The main marine producing fields are located on the north coast, east coast and the south-west coast. On land, production is concentrated in central and south Trinidad. For a long time after the 1970s there were no significant fields discovered, but exploration in areas off the east coast led to discovery of the large Angostura field in 2001. In January 2013 proven oil reserves were estimated at 800 million barrels. Exploration has intensified following the Angostura find, but offshore fields are costly to exploit and slow to be brought on stream. There are two oil refineries at Pointe-à-Pierre and Point Fortin.
Trinidad and Tobago has estimated proven natural gas reserves of 400 billion cubic metres (January 2013). The Atlantic LNG Plant at Point Fortin started to export natural gas in 1999. It was then expanded in stages during the 2000. The country is among the world’s biggest exporters of liquefied natural gas (LNG).
The oil and gas industry has played a significant part in Trinidad and Tobago’s economic development. Trinidad and Tobago is seventh in the global LNG trade and is the largest exporter of LNG to the USA (2008). The BP Group has a long-standing association with Trinidad and Tobago.
The Petroleum Company of Trinidad and Tobago Ltd (Petrotrin) is a state-owned integrated oil and gas company and the country’s largest producer of crude oil, operating ten project sites across southern Trinidad. The company is involved in both upstream and downstream sectors of the industry. Upstream components include onshore and offshore drilling for exploration and production, well servicing and maintenance. It was formed and came under full state ownership in 1993, as the result of a merger between Trintopec and Trintoc. The merger incorporated assets from international oil and gas ventures in the southern Caribbean including Shell Trinidad, Texaco and British Petroleum, some stretching as far back as 1907. As of 2004, its status as a state-owned company also guarantees it an automatic stake in any foreign exploration and production projects in Trinidad and Tobago.
Atlantic LNG has an oil and natural gas hub in Point Fortin and is owned by subsidiaries of BP, BG Group, Repsol YPF, GDF Suez, and the National Gas Company of Trinidad and Tobago. The government of Trinidad and Tobago is committed to advancing LNG as part of the Vision 2020 National Strategic Plan for the Energy Sector for Enabling Competitive Business, to take advantage of increasing in the global demand for natural gas usage.
The downstream sector converts natural gas into ammonia, methanol and urea, which are exported to other countries. Trinidad and Tobago is the largest exporter of ammonia and the second largest exporter of methanol in the world.
The government is currently exploring the potential for Trinidad’s tar sands, located on its south-west peninsula, to produce crude oil. Canadian expertise is being sought, because there is a similar operation on Canada’s tar sands. However, the practice can cause considerable environmental damage.
Trinidad and Tobago received EITI membership with Candidate Country status on 1 March 2011. The country hopes to get Compliant Country status once the EITI Board is satisfied that all the EITI implementation requirements have been met.
In its latest report on Trinidad and Tobago, covering the period October 2011 to September 2012, the EITI focused primarily on the oil and gas sectors.
It found that oil and gas generate significant revenues for the economy and have a significant impact on people’s socio‐economic lives. Part of the EITI’s remit is to assess the extent to which a country’s citizenry benefits from the wealth generated by the extractive sectors, based on the philosophy that a country’s mineral resources belong to its people. With this in mind, the report’s authors noted the success of the Fuel Subsidy, which absorbs a part of the total cost of petroleum fuels as a means of protecting consumers from high fuel prices. As a result of the subsidy, the cost of petroleum-based fuels in Trinidad and Tobago are among the lowest in the world. The government also saves some of its oil and gas revenues by depositing them into the Heritage and Stabilization Fund. The fund has two roles, one of which is providing a cushion in case oil and gas revenues fall below projections, minimising the impact on the national budget. It other function is as a financial resource for future generations. The fund is now 100 times bigger than it was in 2000.
The report made various recommendations including asking that the Ministry of Energy and Energy Affairs introduces appropriate computerised systems to record and control information relating to the production and finances in the oil and gas sector. It also flagged up inconsistencies between some registered companies’ reporting of payments and the government’s reporting of the same payments. The EITI recommends that the government and its private sector partners be required to disclose all material receipts and payments relating to extractive operations in Trinidad and Tobago, whether made by companies registered for business in the country or not. It also wants to see larger companies that operating in the sector in Trinidad and Tobago having their financial statements independently audited under international auditing standards.
It was also noted that the Petroleum Pricing Committee, established under the provisions of the Petroleum Taxes Act to advise the Minister of Energy and Energy Affairs on the fair market value of hydrocarbons, has not always met regularly, as required by statute. It asked that the Trinidad and Tobago EITI Steering Committee take a closer interest in the meetings.