In the upstream sector, the Government is continuing to facilitate and encourage an aggressive exploratory programme in deep water, as well as on land and near shore areas to ensure that new supplies be realised in a timely fashion to support new projects and the increase in domestic demand for energy resources. In this regard, government plans to offer five blocks for Competitive Bidding with the announcement of the opening of the round in the fourth quarter of 2008. There will be five blocks offered, three in the North Coast Marine Area and two in the East Coast Marine Area. A marine 2D seismic geophysical survey is currently being acquired in support of this effort. Government has also agreed to the Ministry’s plan to offer acreage in the Trinidad and Tobago Deep Atlantic Area. This activity will take place in mid 2009.
With respect to natural gas discoveries, Petro Canada recently announced a 1.6 TCF in its Block 22 and Canadian Superior announced a 1.1 TCF discovery in Block 5c. On 13th August, Canadian Superior announced that the results from the “Bounty” well and interpretations of extensive 3-D seismic data and other data indicate a natural gas resource potential of up to 2.6 TCF of natural gas from the tested structure in Block 5c.
It is to be noted that as at January 01, 2008 the unrisked 3P reserves of gas amounted to 30.75 TCF, with the unrisked 3P oil reserves amounting to 2502 million barrels of oil. This strategy being employed is a deliberate effort by Government to ensure that adequate supplies are available for both increasing domestic demand and new industrial purposes.
The quantification of the country’s oil and gas reserves also form part of government’s policy for decision making. In this connection, an independent certification of the country’s natural gas reserves will be completed by end of May 2009 to ensure that the data is available to enable strategic planning for the downstream natural gas sector. Further, an Independent certification of the country’s oil reserves will completed by January 01, 2009.
Regarding the minerals sector, the Government recognised that access to aggregate had become an issue, particularly in light of the expansion of construction and related activity in the country. With this in mind, Government took a number of important policy decisions for the increased supply of aggregate and the more efficient and effective management of the industry. In order to facilitate the supply of aggregate Government has and continues to make available state lands for the purpose of quarrying. This has been complemented by legislation, which excludes lands of less than 150 acres from the need to undertake an Environmental Impact Assessment. Further legislative changes are in the making for the establishment of a Quarries Authority and a new Quarries Act for the more efficient management of the industry.
Increasing the use of renewable energy is also on the sustainable development agenda. The intent of developing this proposed activity is primarily to diversify the country’s energy mix. It is envisaged the an Advisory Body under the Ministry of Energy and Energy Affairs (MEEA) would be established to formulate a Renewable Energy (RE) Policy Green Paper and promote renewable energy development in Trinidad and Tobago. Research in this area and the formulation of a Policy Framework document would be done jointly by the University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT) and the University of the West Indies (UWI). The document would be reviewed by the Advisory Body.
In the context of the local economy, renewable energy development provides an opportunity for this country to increase the diversification of its energy mix and with continued development, could ultimately replace a significant proportion of the country’s energy needs from fossil fuels. Such displaced fuel could be exported to earn foreign exchange.