There has been a poor response to the 2022 T&T deep-water bid round with only four of the 17 blocks receiving bids and those were single bids by a consortium of bpTT and Royal Dutch Shell.
It was a disappointing end to the six month process and the first deep-water bid round in close to a decade.
The Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries had offered 17 blocks in the deep-water bid round and three quarter of the blocks went without a single bid.
Interestingly BHP, now Woodside Petroleum, showed no interest in the deep-water blocks having acquired extensive seismic in T&T’s deep-water and making natural gas discoveries.
This latest disappointment comes as the Government failed to deliver a deep-water bid round, almost eight years since it came to power, and the last bid round in which bpTT and Shell were joint venture partners and sole bidders have not seen an award made because the bids were considered too unworkable by the Ministry of Energy.
There were bids were on Blocks 25(a) 25(b) 23 and 27 deep-water blocks .
Claire Fitzpatrick, Regional President of bpTT, explained to members of the media the reason behind the consortium.
“It’s actually relatively simple. When you look at some of these deep-water projects, they come with risks and they are quite expensive therefore, it’s perfectly normal that you actually end up doing things in a consortium. And given that both bp and Shell have got strong, incumbent positions here and we both bring the skills to actually progress in deep-water projects it made perfect sense for the two of us to actually come together, and actually bid as a consortium,” Fitzpatrick said.
Stéphane Picarle, General Manager, Commercial Shell T&T Ltd said the company was also delighted to bid with bp, noting that joining forces could be beneficial in deep-water exploration.
He added that the bid also demonstrated the company’s commitment to T&T’s energy future and by extension, its citizens.
On whether more competition was expected, Fitzpatrick said she did not have any preconceived ideas as to which companies would actually be interested and how “things would line up” with the strategies of other companies.
“What I was interested in was what did we think of the blocks, and did we see potential there and we did because we bid and strategically it made sense,” Fitzpatrick said, adding that she was eagerly anticipating the ministry’s evaluation.
On the attractiveness to these four particular blocks, she said like any activity, it entailed prospectivity.
“This is around what’s the risk as well as the potential reward and they are the ones that are most attractive to us but we also saw some synergies with some other activities which we already have in the region,” Fitzpatrick further explained.
On how soon the company thinks it can move through the phases from award, to exploration and hopefully production Fitzpatrick said she did not yet have an answer to that, but was confident the companies would work with the ministry as there’s an aligned objective in safely developing what’s there and getting it to market as fast as possible.
Penelope Bradshaw Niles, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries, who also spoke at the bid round closing said making areas widely available is a goal of the Ministry.
“Our goal is constantly to progress from having award of acreage to exploration, to discovery to production,” she added.
She noted that previous deep-water exploration had confirmed a working petroleum system within these blocks.
Bradshaw Niles also noted that these bid rounds are the first in three planned for 2021 into 2022 with the onshore competitive bid round scheduled to be launched later this month and the shallow water bid round scheduled to be launched closer to the end of the year.