Woodside Returns Trinidad Offshore Exploration Block Found Uneconomic

(Reuters) Australia’s Woodside Energy Group has returned a deepwater block to the Trinidad and Tobago government after an exploration appraisal found it would be uneconomic to develop, a company spokesperson said on Wednesday.

Trinidad and Tobago is pushing to speed up exploration and development of offshore areas aiming to secure natural gas supplies to feed its liquefied natural gas (LNG) and petrochemical plants, which are not operating at full capacity.

Trinidad and Tobago Energy Minister Stuart Young met on Wednesday with Woodside Energy Chief Executive Officer Meg O’Neill in Vancouver, where the two are attending an international LNG conference, but the nature of the discussions has not been disclosed. 

Woodside Energy is the operator of block TTDAA 5 through a joint venture in which it holds a 65% share and Shell the remaining 35%. Woodside got into that area in 2013, and in 2018 reported that it had encountered gas at the Victoria-1 well.

“Based on wells drilled and technical studies conducted, TTDAA Block 5 demonstrated significant challenges to development, especially when considered against the high cost of a deepwater project,” the Woodside spokesperson said in an email.

Woodside plans to continue studies on its other deepwater areas in Trinidad and Tobago, the blocks 23A and TTDAA 14, where it made its Calypso discoveries, the spokesperson said. The studies include appraisal results and conceptual engineering. 

“Woodside is currently assessing development and commercialization options” for Calypso, the company spokesperson added. That discovery has estimated resources of 3.2 trillion cubic feet of gas. 

As part of an ownership restructuring of Trinidad’s flagship Atlantic LNG project, a door will be been left open to all producers in the Caribbean country to provide gas for LNG production, a change from the current mechanism, which restricts supplies to the project’s major shareholders, Shell and BP.

Woodside also said it plans to continue safe and efficient production operations at the Angostura and Ruby fields in Trinidad’s shallow waters, which allows it to sell gas to the nation’s power grid and the petrochemical sector.

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