Warning to Trinidad: Oil is Running Out

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Thursday April 20, 2017 – An urgent master plan must be developed to rescue Trinidad and Tobago’s fast dying oil sector, an industry expert warned this week.

Petroleum geologist Winston Lalla complained that the oil-rich nation was letting production slip through the cracks, with little to no action to stop the unfolding crisis.

Speaking at a symposium hosted by the University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT) at the Point Lisas Energy Campus, the expert pointed out that oil production moved from 230,000 barrels of oil a day in 1978 to a mere 60,000 barrels a day last year.

“Oil has been declining for the past 38 years and we never had a master plan. Can we learn from countries which have taken initiatives?” he asked in his address to industry players.

Warning that time was running out, Lalla proposed the country immediately assess all lands used in oil production.

He noted that 4,000 idle wells could be brought back into production and drilling programmes could be developed using new technologies.

And citing a number of studies and seismic surveys, Lalla claimed there were more than 200 million barrels of recoverable oil on land.

According to the Trinidad Guardian, the geologist further pointed out that there was potential for oil exploration on the southern coasts of the twin-island republic as well as deep-water explorations. Unconventional methods include shale oil production and TAR sands—also referred to as oil sands—which are a combination of clay, sand, water, and bitumen, a heavy black viscous oil.

Lalla also laid a strong case for small companies to get into exploration and urged the government to create opportunities and incentives for investments and small companies.

Meanwhile, Professor Kenneth Julien, chairman of the board of UTT, said while discussions on the oil industry were important, stakeholders had to also face up to the challenges in the gas industry.

He said this was critical in light of the fact that the United States had become an exporter of LNG and shale gas.

Describing the development as a “crisis”, Julien called on UTT and UWI think tanks to come together to chart a course for the country’s oil and gas industry.

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