The Natural Gas: Development in a Sustainable Manner workshop is intended to be a catalyst for discussions about the prudent development and use of the natural gas resources of Trinidad and Tobago (T&T) in a sustainable manner. Current reserves to production ratios (RTP), exploration activities to replace existing reserves, and the forecasted increase in demand for natural gas for the downstream petrochemical industry are all critical issues to be addressed.
The energy sector is critical to the economy of Trinidad and Tobago and contributes to approximately 45% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and 60% of government revenues. Natural gas is the main hydrocarbon resource accounting for 85% of the barrels of oil equivalent (BOE) production daily. Current oil production is approximately 120,000 barrels of oil per day (BOPD) and natural gas production is approximately 4 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day or 681,000 barrels of oil equivalent.
Trinidad and Tobago has a large petrochemical sector; is one of the largest producers of methanol and ammonia worldwide; and is the fifth largest exporter of LNG in the world. The natural gas produced is used as feedstock for power plants, the petrochemical industry, and liquefied natural gas (LNG) export. Present petrochemical production figures are approximately 425,000 tonnes of ammonia/month, 618,176 tonnes of methanol/month, 63,698 tonnes of urea/month, and 15 MM tonnes of LNG/annum. Approximately 54% of the total natural gas production is used for LNG production and export.
Present natural gas reserves stand at 16.9 tcf of proven reserves, 7.88 tcf of probable reserves, and 5.88 tcf of possible reserves. There is also an exploration potential of 31.2 tcf of reserves.
There are plans to further expand the downstream petrochemical sector to include new plants for aluminum, gas to liquids, polyethylene, and polypropylene all requiring natural gas as feedstock and fuel source. This projected increase in demand is forecasted at 550 MMSCF and will affect the country’s reserves to production ratio. Recently, reserves replacement has been on average 0.75 tcf per annum as opposed to the required 1.5 tcf required annually based on the present production. The large gas field discoveries are shared with neighbouring Venezuela and thus there are cross border implications for development of these fields.