Oil and Gas industry
Trinidad and Tobago has been involved in the petroleum sector for over one hundred years undertaking considerable oil and gas exploration activity on land and in shallow water with cumulative production totaling over three (3) billion barrels of oil. As the largest oil and natural gas producer in the Caribbean, Trinidad and Tobago’s hydrocarbon sector moved from an oil dominant to a mostly natural gas based sector in the early 1990s. Proven crude oil reserves in 2013 were estimated at, 728 million barrels according to the EIA while 3P natural gas reserves were 25.24 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) (Ryder Scott Audit 2012).
Trinidad and Tobago houses one of the largest natural gas processing facilities in the Western Hemisphere. The Phoenix Park Gas Processors Limited (PPGPL) natural gas liquids (NGL) complex is located in the Port of Savonetta. It has a processing capacity of almost 2 billion cubic feet (Bcf) per day and an output capacity of 70,000 barrels per day (bbl/d) of NGL. After processing the gas is then transferred to the various power generators (POWERGEN, TGU or Trinity power) for generation of electricity and to the petrochemical plants for use as a feedstock.
The electricity sector is fuelled entirely by natural gas. Trinidad Generation Unlimited power plant, the second combined cycle plant in the country with a generating capacity of 720 Mega Watts was opened on October 31 2013.
With 11 ammonia plants and seven methanol plants, Trinidad and Tobago is the world’s largest exporter of ammonia and the second largest exporter of methanol, according to IHS Global Insight (2013). Overall production and export for ammonia, methanol, urea and UAN decreased to 428,240 Metric Tonnes (MT) in 2013 from 564,892 MT in 2012.
A diversified energy sector that focuses on production further down the gas value chain maximises the multiplier effects and value added through the creation of stronger linkages between the energy sector and the rest of the economy. Investments in such projects represent a shift away from the traditional petrochemicals which target foreign markets. The use of more complex petrochemicals locally will expand and deepen growth in the local manufacturing sector, increase employment and increase the country’s GDP. With this vision in mind, the MEEA continues to hold discussions and negotiations with potential investors for downstream projects. Some of these potential downstream and manufacturing projects range from the manufacture of calcium chloride to dimethyl ether (DME).
Looking to the future of downstream gas markets, gas production from non-traditional sources has the potential to transform the global energy landscape. The United States (US) has traditionally relied on imports for its natural gas needs. Emerging shale gas production has brought prices down, encouraging the revival of some idled ammonia and methanol plants and the construction of new facilities that will commence operation over the next few years. This represents a threat that can negatively impact Trinidad and Tobago’s traditional gas markets in the US.
The energy sector accounts for around 45.0% of the country’s GDP, a core driver of the economy. According to the Central Bank, Real GDP growth in Trinidad & Tobago is set to rise to 2.6% in 2014, up from 1.6% in 2013, as the country’s energy sector recovers from maintenance delays that weighed on economic activity in the third quarter of 2013. Moreover, low interest rates will continue to bolster household consumption, while public investment in infrastructure will see stronger growth in the construction sector.
Production of liquefied natural gas (LNG) is forecasted to rebound in the coming months, returning to full capacity. Indeed, our Oil & Gas team forecasts LNG production to rise by 2.0% to 40.0bcm in 2014, following an estimated 1.5% drop in production in 2013. Moreover, production of petrochemicals is also likely to rebound, following an 8.0% drop in output in the third quarter of 2013, as several companies aligned their production schedules with the natural gas shortfall.
The energy sector continues to be integral to the long-term economic growth and development of the country contributing significantly to Government revenue, export earnings as well as GDP.