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Friday, August 18 2017 @ 06:07 PM AST

Trinidad & Tobago taking bids on 'all open acreage' in 2017 bid round

NEWS COMMENTARY

It's a big deal! But it's the kind that will largely go unnoticed, especially since the rest of the media, upon hearing the news, will instinctively send their reporters out to get comments from the same crew who have been sitting pretty while oil spills damage the environment. Millions of US dollars are about to go from private sector oil and gas companies' hands to public sector hands.

That's the issue and that's why it's a big deal. However, put to get 'comments' from all the usual 'experts', who know only how to execute corruption undetected, and little else (otherwise they would have had the technical knowledge to foresee and prevent the recurring oil spills since 2013, or perhaps not allowed the country to be robbed through LNG transfer pricing), the reporters will be led by these learned gentlemen down a path that perpetuates their blindness to the rape of T&T taxpayers, to whom the oil and gas really belong. So without their useless comments, here is the actual news...

Trinidad and Tobago opened its 2017 bid round on Monday, putting everything on the auction block, meaning if all acreages are licensed out, this could be oil and gas companies' last chance to get their lots at 'factory prices'. Thereafter, only the secondary market will see business-to-business transactions such as the US$125 million for which Repsol sold Teak, Samaan, and Poui (TSP) fields to Perenco, or the US$30 million Royal Dutch Shell paid Centrica for its gas fields in the North Coast Marine Area.

This is T&T's first bid round since 2014. More bid rounds were planned since then but put on hold amid a precipitous decline in oil prices. Though now above its US$29 (January 2016) floor, the price of benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil is yet to recover to 2014 levels. WTI was trading, up to press time yesterday (May 23), for US$51 per barrel.

The Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries says in its brochure promoting the bid round: "All open acreage, both onshore and offshore, are eligible for nominations. Nominations are open from May 22 to June 30, a period of six weeks. Companies are invited to nominate any number of blocks at any time during this period. Questions regarding the nomination process can be sent via email to BidRound2017@energy.gov.tt" and "The nominations are held confidential and bestow no right or obligation on either the ministry or the company nominating the blocks."

This keeps the window for corruption wide open. Transparency is the enemy!

The bid round is 'historic' as it is the first time, in modern life, all open blocks are being included a bid round. The last time the country opened its legs so wide was when the then Amoco (now BP) bought the prolific Columbus basin (and TSP, which it later sold to Repsol) under no obligation to keep drilling nor to invest within any timeframe. In fact, the company can now 'gangsta' the Government into giving it generous tax breaks (100% capex on field development) or else the acreage stays fallow.

The following are the blocks up for bid:











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