(Trinidad Express) The people of this country can expect better times ahead as State- owned Petrotrin has struck “black gold” with the discovery of 48 million barrels of crude oil, Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar said yesterday.
Petrotrin’s president-designate Khalid Hassanali said the company, which was engaged in aggressive drilling, discovered the oil off the Gulf of Paria four miles west of Point Fortin in 60 feet of water.
Following yesterday’s Cabinet meeting, Persad-Bissessar, Cabinet Ministers and Petrotrin’s officials and technocrats filled the press room of the post-Cabinet press conference at the PM’s St Clair offices to announce the news.
Questioned by the media on the timing of the disclosure of the oil find as it coincided with a critical meeting with the Partnership leaders, Petrotrin’s chairman Lindsay Gillette said he will leave the politics for the politicians.
Hassanali, when questioned by the Express following the press conference as to why the announcement was made yesterday and not earlier since the discovery was made last year, explained there was a lot of work such as testing the wells, producing a barge, mapping the area etc.
Persad-Bissessar, in making the announcement on the eve of the Shouter Baptist Liberation Day holiday today, said the oil find re-affirms that indeed “God is a Trini”.
“As a result of the jubilee discovery by Petrotrin as a state owned company decisions can be made faster and easier and you can be assured there will be no squandering of these very precious resources but every penny derived will go towards genuine people-centred development in several areas,” she said.
“So what does it now mean for the man in the street, for the citizen of Trinidad and Tobago? In a phrase if I would sum it, I would say better times in the best of initiatives that will benefit you the citizen of Trinidad and Tobago,” she added.
The Prime Minister said the country must recognise this discovery did not just happen by accident or good fortune.
“Let us first be sure to accept with humility the intervention of a purpose far greater than ourselves and to give praise where praise is first due—to Almighty God for what he has bestowed upon this nation at this time,” she said.
She suggested that Petrotrin convene a day of “prayerful gratitude” to recognise the contribution of the company’s employees.
As she praised Energy Minister Kevin Ramnarine, the Petrotrin board and employees, Persad-Bissessar said this “historic discovery” will auger well for this country in many ways as she noted that oil prices are high on the global market.
Persad-Bissessar said there will be increased revenue to the State.
“This revenue will be used to boost many of the developmental projects by my Government. The location and depth of the reserves will allow for earlier than usual production to begin so the benefits to be derived will impact positively on our economy sooner than ever,” she said.
The oil discovery, she said, will also be a welcome stimulation of the demand of energy services and job creation in the energy services sector.
“The news will certainly create a buzz in the sector as the provision of new geological data could lead to even more discoveries,” said the Prime Minister.
Ramnarine noted the Petrotrin oil find comes on the heels of a discovery by Bayfield off the East coast of Trinidad three weeks ago.
He noted that Bayfield’s find was 32 million barrels of crude oil and Petrotrin owns 35 per cent equity of the block Bayfield operates.
Ramnarine said that a Canadian energy company—Parex—is in the process of drilling three wells in Moruga.
He added that he was anxiously awaiting the completion of Petrotrin’s 3D seismic programme which will help identify and unlock more natural resources which will lead to an aggressive campaign on land in 2013.
“There are many who believe the deeper horizons on land particularly below 6,000 feet could hold tremendous potential for this country of an entire new oil province which we never really tapped into,” said Ramnarine.
He also announced that Cabinet yesterday approved the launch of the 2012 deep water bid round and have already received 22 nominations for deep water blocks off the East coast and the North coast of both Trinidad and Tobago.
“I am very proud to be the Minister of Energy at this point time when Petrotrin has turned the corner and the company is turning around,” said Ramnarine.