Interview: Claire Fitzpatrick
In relation to the acquisition of the new deep-water blocks, how feasible is the extraction and subsequent commercialisation of these finds?
CLAIRE FITZPATRICK: After the acquisition of two deepwater blocks, BP has reduced its stake in them to 30%, with BHP taking on the role of operator. We went after this acreage because we saw its potential, and the fact that we have retained a stake underlies our continued belief in the project.
The BP group has leaders throughout various regions with significant experience in deepwater exploration and development, and that expertise has been extended to T&T.
What role do marginal and cross-border fields play in the production of oil and gas, and what is the status of the Manakin-Cocuina field?
FITZPATRICK: Resources that sit within and beyond our borders are very strategic for future exploration and maintaining our existing production profile. Marginal fields are defined as those which struggle to be competitive economically. Within this, small pools in the existing fields are characterised as those holding resources of less than 50bn cu feet. Currently, this portfolio has a high development cost. Having said that, we believe there are significant benefits in going after these smaller pools, and that they make up an important component of our future development plans.
In addition, we are looking at how technology can be used to support access to small pools in an economically competitive way.
Cross-border field activity involves cooperation between the state and private entities, and also between federal governments. The former is essential, and BPTT has maintained a healthy relationship with the government across various administrations. Until now this partnership has focused on issues related to the development of our Columbus Basin.
We have yet to develop the Manakin-Cocuina gas field located on the Venezuela border, but I am confident that there is already a strong relationship between the two countries, which are working together to determine the best development strategies and options for managing cross-border resources. The focus at present is on obtaining the necessary intergovernmental agreements in order to move forward with the correct strategy for the development of these resources.
To what extent will new discoveries revive the oil and gas industry in T&T, and how are technological advancements changing the industry?
FITZPATRICK: Commercial discoveries are exciting for the industry, but they should not be taken as the only indicator of the state of the energy sector; levels of activity and investment are also good markers. There is a saying in the industry that “big fields get bigger”, and extending the development of existing fields has already brought significant new activity to the country.
The success of exploration efforts only happens after important investment decisions are undertaken, extensive seismic and processing data collected, and initial drilling carried out. There is, however, a significant amount of activity already under way in the local energy sector to locate these resources and bring them to production. Technology will also play an important role in helping us to recover and discover more resources.
Technology is forcing the industry to rethink the ways in which companies conduct their businesses, and to harness the power of their employees and data. I have previously mentioned that even traditional positions are changing from those I was familiar with when I initially entered the industry. The outcome of this is that we are now witnessing a sector that is constantly changing and evolving.
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