Shell Plans Deepwater Exploration Well Offshore Trinidad

Shell will begin drilling off the coast of Trinidad after oil was discovered near an exploration block on which Shell holds the permit. Encouraged by the discovery of oil just 50 kilometers west of its exploration block, Trinidad Shell Exploration & Production (TSEP) will begin drilling this year. A semisubmersible rig will be used to test the oldest section of the seabed ever drilled in Trinidad deep waters.

Non-commercial quantities of gas were discovered when the block, off Trinidad's eastern coast, was first drilled in 1999. The recent oil discovery inspired Shell to re-evaluate the site's 3D seismic data using pioneering technology.

Peter Mullin, subsurface coordinator for Trinidad in Shell Deepwater Services, explained: "This technology allows an image of the deep subsurface to be generated with considerably less distortion than conventional seismic processing techniques allow. Other sophisticated techniques were applied to eliminate echoes of the hard seabed, which were obscuring the target zone."

Daniel Truempy, general manager of TSEP, said: "The results were so encouraging that we decided to drill based on the re-processed data."

The project is a joint venture with AGIP and the Petrotrin, the State Oil Company.