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Deepwater Invictus

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Australian Outfit BHP Billiton has discovered between 5 and 6.6 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of natural gas in T&T’s deepwater, according to Energy Minister Franklin Khan.

Speaking yesterday at a news conference to discuss the return of the Deepwater Invictus drill ship and its spudding of the Broadside 1 well, Khan said BHP had made significant natural gas discoveries.

“To date BHP has drilled 10 exploration wells, conducted 3D surveys in excess of 21,000 square kilometres covering its nine blocks as well as 16 unlicensed blocks. Seven (7) of the ten (10) exploration wells drilled were successful in finding approximately 6.6 TCF of commercially viable natural gas bearing sands.”

When asked by Guardian Media on where the 6.6 tcf of gas is located, BHP’s Vice President, Exploration Sonia Scarselli said the company had only declared its 3.5 tcf in its Northern License which she added has further upside potential and was in the process of evaluating the other discoveries.

Khan explained that from a geological standpoint BHP holds the view of Trinidad and Tobago as a “world class source rock” comprising prospective acreage, its relationship to the Orinoco River system and the great possibility that it holds significant traps of hydrocarbons.

“It considers that Trinidad and Tobago is a deposition environment similar to the Niger Delta and the Gulf of Mexico and some of the other bigger deltaic basins….To date the company expended approximately US$1.0 billion in geological, geophysical and drilling work.” The Energy Minister explained.

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley was the feature speaker at the event and noted that BHP has applied to the Ministry of Energy to enter into the Market Development Phase for Blocks 23(a) and TTDAA 14 (BHP’s Northern License).

He said if found to be economic, first gas could be as early as 2026.

Rowley noted that BHP had begun drilling its Broadside-1 well which is expected to test the oil play within BHP’s Southern Deepwater Blocks, which includes TTDAA 3, 5 and 6.

“If the finds of the Broadside well are promising, it can inform the drilling of further exploration wells in nearby blocks. Additionally, a commercial discovery in any of Broadside’s Miocene targets could de-risk the majority of the prospective resources identified by Netherland, Sewell and Associates, Inc. (NSAI) in its audit of the country’s crude oil reserves and resources for year-end 2018.’ Rowley noted.

Scarselli said if a discovery is made this year in Broadside, and it is commercial, it is unlikely to come to market before 2028/29.

Rowley also revealed that the Jacket for the Ruby platform was being installed and drilling is expected to commence in Q4 2020.

Peak oil production is expected to be 16,000 barrels of oil per day in Q1 2022, with first production in November 2021.

Broadside-1 is targeting a much deeper horizon with the plan to penetrate the shallowness of the interval where BHP had encountered oil seeps in the Le Clerc and Victoria wells.