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Several confidential bpTT documents show that the company has made little profit for several years and last year reported a more than US$2 billion loss before interest and tax.

BpTT has never reported its financials locally and has always allowed it to form part of the group’s accounts of BP PLC, the UK parent company.

The documents which Guardian Media has copies of and which were recently presented to the government, tell a tale of a company making limited profits and in some cases massive losses as it invests to try and keep the gas flowing and arrest declining production.

Last year bpTT reported a loss before interest and taxes of US$2.825 billion.

This year it is projecting to make a profit of US$276 million.

In 2019 the company lost US$100 million before taxes.

BpTT’s performance was a little better in 2018 when its profit before interest and taxes were US$491 million.

In 2017 the figure was US$235 million and in 2016 the loss was a massive US$1.199 billion.

While bpTT’s profits have been low it has at the same time faced declining production.

The company’s struggles are shown in another confidential document it presented to the Dr Keith Rowley administration.

In the document, it showed that this year bpTT is expected to produce 240,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day. This is lower than the 306,000 in 2020 and the data showed a decline in production starting 2018 through to this year.

In 2018 the production was 385,000 boe/d while in 2017 it fell to 357,000 boe/d.

In terms of its capital expenditure, the company’s investment has fallen from US$1.614 billion in 2016 to a low of US$492 million last year during the height of COVID-19.

Its cash costs have also progressively gone down as the company seeks to reduce expenditure. It also reflects some of the reduction in staff and contract costs that bpTT has initiated over the last few years.

The documents also tell us how much the company earned for its commodities.

bpTT remains the fourth-largest oil producer in the country. The documents showed that it is forecasting an average crude price for its mainly light condensate of US $57 a barrel in 2021. That is significantly higher than the average of US $42 a barrel it received for a barrel of crude oil last year but a far cry from the US $67 a barrel it averaged in 2018 and US $63 a barrel in 2019.

For its natural gas, it is expecting to receive US$2.90 at Henry Hub this year. That is up from US$2.10 last year.

It is expecting methanol prices to average US$386 in 2021 and ammonia prices at US$355. Methanol and Ammonia prices are important to bpTT since some of its revenue is linked to petrochemical prices.

The bpTT confidential files also point to the results of a number of their wells.

It shows that there was a discovery in the Mento well it drilled with EOG Resources and the post well analysis was completed.

There were downward revisions of its Mahogany and Immortelle fields but that downward revision was offset by the additional reserves found in Mento.

Cannonball and Amherstia were revised upwards adding 10 million barrels of oil equivalent. But the documents show that Mento will have delays in its eventual production.

The documents continue to point to a company under pressure. Only recently Guardian Media released a number of bpTT confidential documents which show that even with the announced projects like Matapal and Cassia C, while they will increase production by about 140 million standard cubic feet per day (mmscf/d) of gas, this will still fall short by an average of over 200 mmscf/d.

To put it into context, that is enough gas to run two methanol plants and more than 60 per cent of all the gas the country needs for electricity generation.

The news came at a bad time for the Rowley administration, already faced with the embarrassment of having spent quarter of a billion dollars in a desperate attempt to save Atlantic LNG’s Train 1 that is now likely to be mothballed.

The following questions were sent to bpTT on the issue:

• Can bpTT say whether it has revised its estimates of natural gas production downwards between now and 2030?

• Can bpTT say what has occasioned the lower projected volumes?

• Can bpTT say if it is unlikely to return to the 2bcf/d before the middle of the decade?

• What does this reduced outlook mean for LNG supplies to T&T?

• Is the limiting factor discoveries or investment?

However, bpTT’s response was guarded.

“We do not comment on long-term forecasts because they include assumptions on exploration and appraisal activity, unsanctioned projects and volumes from developments operated by others. These all carry a degree of uncertainty and are subject to change. Our goal remains to efficiently find and develop resources to satisfy our contractual obligations,” the energy giant said.

The bpTT forecast, which continues until the end of the decade, shows the company will not return to producing the two billion cubic feet of natural gas, thought by industry insiders as the linchpin to the country’s ability to meet all its gas requirements, and unless there are new players with large amounts of natural gas or the country has access to Venezuelan gas, the outlook for LNG and petrochemicals remains challenging.

For the Government, it means a loss of opportunity to make money on other major fronts, fewer taxes on production at the wellhead and fewer netback prices on either LNG or petrochemicals if the country continues to have natural gas shortages.

bpTT has for decades been the largest single private-sector contributor to government revenue and foreign exchange earnings.

In many ways, the T&T economy has followed the success or failure of the company, from its days as Amoco with its huge oil discoveries off the coast of Mayaro, to the giant natural gas fields like Cassia and Red Mango.