Latest gas audit points to falling reserves

(Trinidad Express) – Trinidad and Tobago’s natural gas reserves have fallen again.

The country now has ten years of natural gas left in its proven reserves.

The results were released on Tuesday by Ryder Scott Company, based in Houston, Texas, USA, which has done four previous oil and gas audits of the country’s reserves.

Natural gas is the country’s largest revenue earner.

Company representative Larry McHalffney admitted on Tuesday the declining reserve figures painted a “bleak picture” of the country’s oil and gas future, but he said, “What appears to be is not always the case.’“

In presenting the audit findings at the Hyatt Regency Trinidad hotel in Port of Spain, McHalffney said despite the steady decline in the proven gas reserve figures over the past nine years, the country maintained a “steady, stable reserve base”.

Since 2000, proven natural gas reserves have declined from 19.7 billion cubic feet (bcf) to 15.4 bcf in 2008, Ryder Scott data showed.

Data for 2009 released on Tuesday showed reserves had declined even more, down to 14.4 bcf.

Probable reserves stood at 7.8 bcf and possible were 5.9 bcf of gas.

It comes at a time when gas production levels in the country have dropped because of fewer exploration and production investments by energy firms.

The last time Ryder Scott presented the audit, there were 12 years of natural gas reserves.

Energy Minister Carolyn Seepersad-Bachan said to satisfy the natural gas demand, Trinidad and Tobago had been tapping the reserves at a rate of 1.4 trillion cubic feet yearly.

Natural gas prices have lingered at around US$4 per mmbtu for months.

Now, what needs to happen is a “significant” investment in exploration for natural gas.

“Our goal is 100 per cent replacement of annual gas production,” she said, adding to achieve this, the government would encourage the necessary exploration, appraisal and development drilling in order to move resources into the reserve categories.

“There must be significant and sustained exploration to activity to maintain the reserve base,” she said.

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