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from l ? r : Mr. Mark Loquan, NGC President; Mr. Conrad Enill, NGC Chairman; Energy Minister Sen. The Hon. Franklin Khan; Mr. Vincent Pereira, BHP Trinidad and Tobago President; Ms. Arlene Chow, Heritage Petroleum CEO. (Image courtesy NGC)

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Expect a new deep water bid round early next year, Energy Minister Franklin Khan has announced.

Khan made the statement yesterday during the contract signing ceremony of the gas sales agreement between the National Gas Company and Block 3 (a) consortium for the Ruby Field.

Khan also took the opportunity to explain why the government did not have a deep water bid during its five-year tenure.

“And seeing that this is the season I just want to say something that has been on the press for some time with regards by a former energy minister that this administration has not proposed any bid round over its five-year period,” Khan said.

“I would like the gentleman to know and the country to know you don’t just ups and have a bid round,” he said.

Khan said there are two criteria for a bid round.

“One, it must be licensed acreage so as minister of energy I cannot have a bid round onshore in the southern basin because all the acreage, by and large, is under license,” he said.

“Nor can I have a bid round in the Gulf of Paria because the Gulf of Paria, by and large, in the prospective acreage is under licence,” Khan said.

“It is very difficult to have a shallow water bid round because most of the acreage is under licence and would have made absolutely no sense to come out with a parallel deep water bid round while BHP was involved in some serious exploration,” Khan said.

Khan said he believes because of BHP’s exploration success when the bid round is held next year it will attract greater international interest.

“So you don’t just ups and do these things ad hocly or superficially you do them with a plan,” Khan said.

The Ruby Field is located in Block 3(a), off the east coast of Trinidad, and is expected to be commissioned in the fourth quarter of 2021.

“This is just one step that both NGC and BHP have taken to secure gas supply by continuing to invest in upstream gas development projects,” the Energy Ministry stated.

BHP is the operator of the block, with NGC, through its subsidiary NGC E&P (Netherlands) BV as partners.

The project was sanctioned in August 2019, culminating from decisions taken after gathering and analysing data acquired during exploration and appraisal drilling, and state-of-the-art ocean bottom node seismic surveying.

The Ruby project will comprise of five development wells and one platform producing from the Ruby and Delaware fields in Block 3(a).

Production from this Block will tie-in to adjacent infrastructure in Block 2(c) resulting in synergies for both blocks. The Ruby project’s expected production is 15,000 barrels per day of crude oil along with 85 MMscfd of gas production.

“To put this into perspective, the latter is sufficient to supply a large-scale ammonia or methanol plant which would normally use between 40 to 100 MMscfd depending on the plant’s output,” the energy ministry stated.

According to Vincent Pereira, president of BHP T&T, “The signing of this gas sales agreement with the National Gas Company reflects BHP’s continued commitment to T&T and to providing a reliable source of gas to NGC.

“This is another demonstration of our firm’s commitment to sustainably growing our business in here.”

According to NGC president, Mark Loquan, “NGC continues in its thrust to grow our business and create value for our shareholder by integrating along the gas value chain.

“These developments are important milestones for NGC as we strive to fulfil our vision to be a recognised global leader in the development of sustainable energy-related businesses by developing strategic partnerships and creating exceptiona value.”