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Tar Sands Development in T&T?

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The_Honourable
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Tar Sands Development in T&T?

Postby The_Honourable » October 1st, 2017, 1:08 am

Opening up Trinidad's tar sands

The island holds large bitumen reserves. The head of a company wanting to develop them says the resource could help fix the country’s energy-import problem

Herbert Sukhu - 5 January 2017

Trinidad and Tobago's energy economy is in a parlous state. It imports about four-fifths of the oil it uses, and natural gas reserves-the state's key energy earner-continue to fall steeply. In 2015, they dropped by almost 8% compared with the previous year. It's vital that the country find new hydrocarbon resources to plug this gap, and we think large reserves of oil sands offer an answer.

The government is aware of the problem. To stop the decline its aim is to oversee a rise in conventional oil output. It estimates, for example, that the country's deep waters could hold between 3.1bn and 8.2bn barrels of oil in place. Oil and gasfields found in deep-water areas off Trinidad's eastern and northern coasts hold much potential, and old reservoirs in the Central and Southern Basin could also be revived. But will they be enough?

Trinidad and Tobago's petroleum production began in 1908, making it one of the oldest petroleum producers in the world. So it would be wrong to bet against a recovery. Still, it has a lot of ground to make up. Production peaked in 1978 at about 230,000 barrels a day-when it accounted for 60% of government revenue and 90% of export earnings. It's now down to around 66,000 b/d-equivalent to output in 1956-1957.

The country's oil sands resources can play a role in reversing this decline. While they aren't comparable in size to Canada's huge Athabasca deposits, their qualities are similar or even better, in terms of how much oil can be recovered in the mining process. Indeed, on those terms they rank eighth in the world (the top seven are found in Canada).

The oil sands have the potential to spur a third wave of energy development in Trinidad and Tobago. Synthetic oil could be extracted from the bituminous reserves found in the Forest Reserve, Parrylands, Guapo and Antilles-Vessigny fields, in the southwestern peninsula of Trinidad.

New approaches

Extracting and producing oil sands involve methods that are different from those used in conventional oil. So the process will need to be understood and reviewed if the country is to seize the opportunity.

A better understanding of surface and sub-surface geological and geochemical characterisation will be necessary, as will identification of relevant exploration and reservoir modelling techniques, and bitumen recovery processes that can be applied in an environmentally friendly way.

Much learning will come from Alberta, where producers use five main extraction processes: the Clark hot-water process (CHWP); hot-water extraction (HWE); steam-assisted gravity drainage (Sag-D); cyclic-steam stimulation; solvent processes; and toe-to-heal air injection. Another method is a retort process to extract the entire organic fraction from the oil sands ore that, simultaneously, carries out primary upgrading of bitumen to produce a distillate that can be pumped.

If these techniques are to be used in Trinidad, they'll need to overcome some of the environmental and economic concerns that have dogged their application in Alberta. There may, for example, be no backing from stakeholders for using CHWP, HWE or SP.

Oil sands development in southwest Trinidad would also have to overcome the unpopular legacy of an aborted aluminium project, to which the government granted a certificate of environmental clearance without consulting the public. To understand the concerns of stakeholders for large development projects, potential oil sands developers should hold interviews and meetings with the public and civil society groups. For people living in communities that might be affected by a project, fear of environmental damage (through extraction techniques with either water or solvents, and derivatives of each) is real. Developers would have to address them.

Trinidad's stakeholders-aware of the potential economic benefits but conscious of the need to protect their environment-now require preliminary project-development work to carry out sufficient due diligence. This should allow for a thorough examination of known and unknown impacts, so they can be correctly assessed.

The economic case is sound. An integrated financial and economic model, developed to determine the project viability for synthetic crude oil, shows that output could reach 11m, 18.3m or 36.5m barrels a year (between about 30,000 and 100,000 b/d) for a minium of 25 years. This is a major opportunity that could reduce the country's imports of crude oil.

But the government has not yet articulated a policy framework or sought the qualified expertise to review and help it decide how it should handle its unconventional oil potential.

Grasping opportunity

The country's oil sands resources were also curiously omitted from the Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries' (MEEI) white paper on its National Minerals Policy (2015). This has made it difficult even to conduct the necessary research into the opportunity. Because the government took no decision about whether to produce its bitumen, neither an environmental-impact assessment nor a certificate of environmental clearance has been issued. It has all left the prospect of development of a potentially significant source of domestic energy in limbo.

There are some signs of progress. Earlier this year, energy minister Nicole Olivierre noted that the country had to undertake "sustained monetisation" of all its energy sources, "including tar sands". But the cabinet was reshuffled at the end of October, with Franklin Khan replacing her as minister, and it's not clear yet whether he endorses Olivierre's statement on monetising all energy sources, including oil sands. Still, we are pressing ahead. InvestTT, the government's investment-promotion firm, has signed a memorandum of understanding with Geominex Resources. It states that the agency will "facilitate approval to conduct a full socio-economic and environmental-impact assessment on the development of Trinidad and Tobago's tar sands south of the region of La Brea for the production of crude oil".

While only the beginning, this is a positive step for the country. The opportunity for a third wave of energy development, through unconventional crude oil production, can hardly be considered a gamble for Trinidad and Tobago.

It is, though, becoming an economic necessity-and one that can no longer be ignored.

Source: http://www.petroleum-economist.com/arti ... -tar-sands
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The_Honourable
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Re: Tar Sands Development in T&T?

Postby The_Honourable » October 1st, 2017, 1:24 am

Some maps of interest area
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Redman
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Re: Tar Sands Development in T&T?

Postby Redman » October 1st, 2017, 4:29 am

This is an entirely different kettle of fish to win a barrel of oil.
I hope that study is made public.

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Re: Tar Sands Development in T&T?

Postby Curtms » October 1st, 2017, 4:44 am


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Re: Tar Sands Development in T&T?

Postby sMASH » October 1st, 2017, 6:14 am

Cost of extraction will be high. Have to do the maths and see if it makes sense with these oil prices, we have Guyana and Venezuela right next door.
So oil is readily available.

What we can do is make products with the things. Don't just sell it as oil and gas, actually convert it into sumting like sealants and binders and rubbers and plastics and what not

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Re: Tar Sands Development in T&T?

Postby Numb3r4 » October 1st, 2017, 5:35 pm

The real value in this oil and gas market is in the downstream and how well we can turn the raw material by means of engineering and technology into a value added commodity that can command a price on the market. As sMASH said.

Tar sands and heavy crude recovery are very engineering and technology intensive, little room to make mistakes as the cost of extraction and the investment in extraction is high and long term. It does require study of the chemical nature of the fluids and how they interact with other fluids and processes. A good example is the precision and planning required to drill a steam assisted gravity drainage well.

We do have the talent to do these things, we do have professionals and intellectuals who can understand the process and workers who can be trained at a fairly low cost, the issue is who will fund it, the private sector? Which private oil company in Trinidad do you think has the capability to do it. Remember the private companies in Trinidad are good are primary/secondary recovery, I don't know of any company undertaking any kind of sophisticated recovery project (to my knowledge).

The next option is the state.....sigh Petrotrin 2.0 anyone. Still though they do have the capacity and yes they do have access to the capital, intellect and general resources to get the project of the ground. The issue becomes one of management.

The other option is one of getting a foreign company to do it and tax the revenue stream.

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Re: Tar Sands Development in T&T?

Postby Redman » October 1st, 2017, 5:40 pm

I wonder if we need to.
Imho..if it is the view is that oil has 20 or 50 years again...do we invest in the most expensive extraction method s?

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Re: Tar Sands Development in T&T?

Postby Numb3r4 » October 1st, 2017, 7:32 pm

Redman wrote:I wonder if we need to.
Imho..if it is the view is that oil has 20 or 50 years again...do we invest in the most expensive extraction method s?


Short term gains are employment....

Medium to long term could be exposure to new technologies and an industrial project like this could look good for the country and possibly attract investors.

Dare I say a chance to diversify. Specificaly I do not refer to the extraction of the resource as diversification, I was referring to the technical nature of the project attracting new investments and thus a chance to showcase and possibly use this to diversify.

I mean with regards to oil and gas and the industrial estate, this has lead to the development of port and marine infrastructure that can go on to serve, similarly a project like this could give some life to the industry and have some potential spilover effects. This project could cause existing service companies to continue investement and use Trinidad aas a springboard for other Caribbean nations now developing their oil and gas resources.

A good example of this would be Baker Hughes which does have a Steam Assisted Gravity Drainage technology, which if used here would prompt continued investement in the country.

I guess....I am being optimistic.

Any revenue stream is welcomed....I suppose....
Last edited by Numb3r4 on October 1st, 2017, 10:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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sMASH
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Re: Tar Sands Development in T&T?

Postby sMASH » October 1st, 2017, 8:10 pm

Using an different method to extract petroleum is not diversification. Diversification is having different things to sell or different ways to sell the same thing.


Give we a few more years to come out of this economic hole and when we have money to waste we can try these cockamimi ventures.

Its the reason why fracking wasn't used before... It was comparatively more expensive. The reason why we don't go into deep water off shore extraction. More expensive that the gains could justify.






But just like the football hotel, another way to explain the spending of ludicrous sums of money with little return in investment.

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Re: Tar Sands Development in T&T?

Postby Redman » October 1st, 2017, 8:58 pm

But we've been fracking here for years......
Ask AV

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