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Sunday 23 September 2018
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Energy firms unfazed by closure

SEVERAL energy firms operating in TT in statements recently each said the proposed closure of Petrotrin’s refinery will have no impact on their operations. One said it was “a difficult but necessary step”, while another said it might actually help their profit margins, while a third hoped to offer jobs to retrenched workers.

These firms are British-based Columbus Energy Resources, Canadian firm Touchstone and United States firm Range Resources.

Columbus in a stock market statement, said the restructuring of Petrotrin will not impede the extraction of oil from its Goudron field which it sells to Petrotrin.

The Goudron field is in South East Trinidad between East Moruga and Beach Marcelle, of “exceptionally high quality oil in a shallow reservoir,” producing about 1,000 barrels of oil per day (bpd), that could ultimately rise to 3,000 to 4,000 bpd by using enhanced oil recovery.

“Columbus believes that the proposed changes will have no impact on its Goudron operations as the marketing arrangements will not change and the company does not interact directly with the refinery.”

The company said it will continue to sell production to Petrotrin under the existing contracts. “However, rather than selling to the refinery, Petrotrin will export the product at world pricing. This could possibly benefit Columbus in the future as the company does not currently receive any premium to the oil price it receives from Petrotrin.”

“Yesterday’s announcement is a big step by Petrotrin to create a strong and economically viable exploration and production business to the benefit of the people of Trinidad and Tobago,” said Leo Koot, Columbus chairman. “We applaud their commercial strategy and are satisfied that the proposed closure of the Point-a-Pierre refinery will have no negative impact on our Goudron operations and potentially benefit Columbus into the future, if we are able to obtain a higher oil price due to the high quality of our Goudron oil. “We have regular meetings with senior Petrotrin representatives and intend to continue to work closely with Petrotrin in the months ahead as they undertake their changes.”

Touchstone likewise said the changes will have no impact on its operations as it will continue to sell crude oil to Petrotrin under existing contracts, which it expects Petrotrin to export at world pricing. Touchstone supported the changes at Petrotrin.

“It is the company’s view that the restructuring will benefit the country in the long-term, as sustainable profitability of the state-owned company will enhance the standard of living in Trinidad and ensure the continued viability of the oil and gas-based economy on the island.” Saying many workers will be impacted by retrenchment at Petrotrin, Touchstone said, “We are hopeful that as we accelerate our development activities in Trinidad, some of the qualified personnel may find opportunities in our organization.”

Paul Baay, President/CEO of Touchstone said, “We believe this is a difficult but necessary step for Petrotrin, and we look forward to working with them as a partner while they transition the business and return to profitability.”

Touchstone expects to be an active participant in meetings Petrotrin is due to hold with stakeholders in coming weeks to discuss how the changes will be enacted.

Touchstone operates on 10 sites across South Trinidad totalling 9,857 acres. It produces 1,375 bpd, and its acreage has a total potential (proven probable and possible reserves) of up to 24 million barrels.

Its website said, “Touchstone has been producing oil in Trinidad since 2010 and is now one of the largest onshore independent oil producers in the country. The Company’s exploration and undeveloped blocks consist of approximately 80,250 gross acres.” Range Resources echoed the two other companies.

“Range currently sells all of its produced oil in Trinidad to Petrotrin under various contracts and not directly to the refinery. The company expects that following the restructuring it will continue to sell its produced oil to Petrotrin and the restructuring of Petrotrin’s operations is not anticipated therefore to have any impact on the company’s operations in Trinidad.

“Range looks forward to continuing its long-standing relationship with Petrotrin and working with them during this transition period..” Range operates at Beach Marcelle where it will drill two wells to try to access some 3.5 million barrels of oil, on top of a well drilled last December that has yielded 12,000 barrels so far.

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