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Shell T&T to ramp up gas output by 2020

Published: 
Thursday, October 12, 2017

Shell T&T’s country chairman, Derek Hudson, has predicted that by 2020 his company can return to producing over one billion cubic standard feet of natural gas per day (bscf/d) with increased production starting as early as next year.

In a speech designed to outline the company’s Trinidad strategy, Hudson noted that the return to over one bscf/d would make a significant difference in reducing the shortfall in natural gas to the downstream sector.

He said the increased production will come from the development of the previously failed Starfish project and infill drilling in the Dolphin field and takes into account the continued decline in existing wells.

“In fact, right now we can do between 650 mmcf/d to 700 mmcf/d but we have some commercial constraints with Atlantic. The challenge we have with that is, of course, as we continue to do the work over the next two or three years the older fields will continue to decline so I am not sure how much you compensate for the decline relative to the new production but what I am hoping for is the production levels to be the P 50. I am hoping that the reservoirs are more prolific.”

This will be good news for the Minister of Finance Colm Imbert who has had to deal with lower earnings in part due to lower natural gas production. It means that with bpTT assuring it will be able to produce a minimum of two bscf/d well past 2026 and now Shell committing to over one bcf and EOG and BHP producing close to 900 mmscf/d the government is well on its way to getting production to the 4.3 bscf/d required to provide gas for all users.

BG Group—which was acquired by Shell—had seen its production plummet from 1.1 bscf/d in 2014 to less than 600 mmscf/d and is now promising to arrest he decline and increase production to over 1 bscf/d.

But, according to Collette Hirsitus, general manager, growth at Shell T&T, the increase will be done through the drilling of three wells in its Starfish field.

She said the wells would be drilled using the Maersk Discoverer rig, and admitted that while on the last occasions there were challenges to drill the field, since Shell took over it has been concentrating on fluids that Shell feels will make it develop the wells successfully.

Hirsitus also admitted that Shell has been utilising its expertise in Houston and other parts of the company to ensure success in developing the Starfish field.

“We anticipate gas production from Starfish sometime around mid-2018 and, as additional wells are drilled, we will bring production from those wells online.”

With respect to the four infill wells to be drilled in Dolphin, Hirsitus said they will be drilled by the Rowan 6 rig.

Hirsitus pointed out that in the case of the Dolphin field, Shell was involved in surveillance of its wells to ensure it maximised recovery and thye company practised good well reservoir management.

Hudson said the US$250 million buyout of Chevron assets in Trinidad was important to advancing the Starfish and Dolphin projects and added had the company not spent the quarter billion dollars, plans to increase production would have been nothing more than an idea.

“For many years we had overall delays in which wanted to progress development and now we feel with 100 per cent we can move very quickly and progress it.”

Hudson also lauded the work being done in the deepwater by its partner BHP Billiton and said the plan was to develop the Le Clerc discovery by 2026 and not have it sit in the ground as happened with Dolphin which took 20 years to develop.