Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 9th 2017 Contents BG4 | COVER STORY
BUSINESS GUARDIAN guardian.co.tt MARCH 9 • 2017
What MHTL plant closures
mean for T&T energy
The decision by Methanol
Holdings Trinidad Ltd
(MHTL) to close two of
its methanol plants at the
Point Lisas Industrial Es-
tate has confirmed what
many in the energy sector
have known for some time---that the T&T nat-
ural gas sector is in trouble and, by extension,
the country's economy.
What is clear now from investigations is that
things will not improve this year nor will it in
2018 and after 2019 there is real risk it could
At issue is the fact that the country sim-
ply does not have the necessary natural gas
required to meet the demand of LNG export,
the petrochemical sector and electricity gen-
eration and, unless more gas is produced or
can be imported from Venezuela, there will
A study into the T&T gas economy by Rystad
Energy---an energy sector consultancy com-
missioned by the Energy Chamber---showed
that gas production in T&T has dropped from
4.2 billion cubic feet per day (bcf/d) in 2013,
to 3.3 bcf/d in 2016.
Rystad estimates that the decline of already
producing fields will be 14 per cent per annum
over the period 2016-2030.
While there are some new gas supply projects
due to come on stream over the next year---such
as Juniper, Sercan and TROC---these will only
serve to stabilise production in the 3.3 bcf/d
range, rather than increase production to meet
the installed demand of over 4 bcf/d.
Juniper, bpTT's offshore platform, is due
to be installed and operational by November
this year, adding production capacity of ap-
proximately 590 million standard cubic feet
a day (mmscfd), which will flow through the
Mahogany B offshore hub.
Sercan is a natural gas field in the East Man-
zanilla Joint Venture Development Block, off
Trinidad's northeast coast, that is a joint
venture between bpTT and EOG Resources.
That field is expected to generate 275 mmscfd
of gas when it goes into production later this
year. EOG Resources is the operator for the
TROC, the Trinidad Onshore Compression
project, is aimed at increasing production from
low-pressure wells in bpTT's existing acre-
age in the Columbus Basin in order to provide
the Atlantic LNG complex of four liquefaction
trains at Point Fortin with additional gas.
When it comes on stream next month, the
TROC project has the potential to deliver ap-
proximately 200 million standard cubic feet
of gas per day in 2017.
Put together, these three project should
generate, in theory, over one billion mmscfd
of "new" natural gas, which should take the
country's current natural gas production from
3.2 bcf/d to 4.2 bcf/d.
The fact that NGC and bpTT sources have
insisted that the three developments will not
increase T&T's gas output is a function of the
decline in production from some of the coun-
try's existing, mature natural gas fields.
Rystad Energy found that should new gas
delivery projects not be sanctioned for in-
vestment immediately, the country faces the
prospect of further decreases in gas production
That supposition places huge pressure on
the government to provide bpTT with the of-
ficial sanction for its Angelin project by end
of this month.
The energy giant has repeatedly said that
it needed sanction for Angelin by the fourth
quarter of last year, in order to guarantee that
the natural gas from that field could begin
flowing by mid-2019, when Juniper's output
is expected to start declining.
The prospect of the gas curtailment problem
worsening in two years also puts pressure on
Port-of-Spain to fast track its negotiations
with the Nicholas Maduro administration in
Venezuela for the development of the Dragon
field off Trinidad's northwest coast.
Highly placed sources at the NGC confirmed
to the Business Guardian that the reality is even
with the addition of all the projects this year,
the country will still have a shortfall of close to
700 million standard cubic feet per day. This
means that while the decline will be arrested,
the shortfall will continue.
Methanol Holdings on Monday officially
announced that it will be mothballing two of
its methanol plants in Trinidad as a result of the
ongoing natural gas curtailment, confirming
a Sunday Guardian exclusive.
The announcement came in the midst of
protracted negotiations between the world's
second largest methanol producer and the
National Gas Company T&T Ltd.
In a response to questions from the Business
Guardian, MHTL said the closure would reduce
its production by 25 per cent or 1.03 million
tonnes per annum. Continued on Page 8
Methanol Holdings (Trinidad)
Ltd (MHTL) at the Point Lisas
PHOTO: KRISTIAN DE SILVA
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