Petchems-focused Firm Becomes Offshore Operator

Petchems-focused Firm Becomes Offshore Operator
The Iguana platform installation with a well services rig. SOURCE: Proman Group

A player in Trinidad and Tobago’s downstream oil and gas sector for a quarter-century, Proman Group recently expanded into the upstream realm to help address the Caribbean twin-island country’s challenges meeting local gas supply demands.

Last month, Proman’s subsidiary DeNovo Energy Limited reported the first commercial supply of gas from the Iguana gas field off the west coast of Trinidad. According to Proman, Iguana is the first marginal gas field to be developed in Trinidad and Tobago (T&T) and the first gas development campaign off Trinidad’s west coast. Production from Iguana reaches land via the Iguana gas pipeline.

Rigzone recently caught up with David Cassidy, Proman’s chief executive, to learn more about the upstream opportunity his company sees in T&T. Read on for his insights.

Rigzone: What are some ongoing challenges that T&T’s energy industry faces, and how can natural gas development be part of the solution?

More Upstream Projects

Developing the Iguana field represents a vital step toward ensuring a secure gas supply for petrochemical manufacturers and helping T&T to stay competitive for the industry, said Proman’s David Cassidy.

“The success of this development lays strong groundwork for Proman and DeNovo to expand upstream operations and to develop more stranded gas fields in this country in the future,” said Cassidy.

Cassidy: T&T built a globally competitive energy sector due to its oil and natural gas reserves. At Proman we have been at the heart of growing the local petrochemical industry over the last 25 years by continually investing and re-investing in our assets in T&T – where we now own and operate 14 petrochemical plants. The petrochemical sector has grown to be the largest contributor to the country’s GDP and the country’s largest generator of foreign exchange, which demonstrates the crucial role the industry plays in T&T’s wider economy.

Unfortunately, the country has been facing natural gas supply issues for a number of years now. While the situation has started to improve over the last 18 months, for greater success we need to see more gas. We need more collaboration between upstream, the National Gas Co. (NGC) and the downstream. This value chain can succeed in Trinidad, but the risks and rewards along the value chain need to be shared more equitably – and if we are going to thrive, and not just survive, then the downstream has to be a part of that plan.

As a long-term investor and major petrochemical operator in Trinidad, Proman took the decision in 2015 to expand into the upstream sector to try to proactively address these challenges. Through our investment in DeNovo, we have been able to develop hitherto stranded pools of gas to deliver to an already matured downstream industry, signaling a significant positive evolution in the operating capabilities within the T&T energy industry. As a result of this, we can supply more gas to the NGC and we have been able to bring four out of our five methanol plants back into production as of late November.

Our DeNovo investment is a triumph of ambition, collaboration and commitment. Having been the first and only company to go truly downstream in Trinidad with UAN and melamine, we are now the only one to go upstream. We aim to be a true partner with the upstream players and to work with the NGC to try to mitigate and ultimately solve the gas supply problems. This type of innovation is vital to addressing the gas supply challenges and ensure T&T remains a competitive market for the global petrochemical sector.

Rigzone: How did T&T, home to a major LNG export facility, encounter domestic gas shortages?

Cassidy: There have been a range of factors at play here, including a lack of timely investment in upstream capacity, the need to tackle fundamental supply challenges and the impact of maintenance and upgrade works. As the NGC acts as the main domestic aggregator and supplier, these issues then have a knock-on impact on the entire downstream sector.

Rigzone: What sort of impact is developing the Iguana field having on T&T’s gas supply?

Cassidy: Although it was first discovered in 1982, the Iguana field was left undeveloped for more than 34 years until DeNovo and Proman acquired operating rights in 2016. In less than three years, we have secured our first commercial supply of natural gas. We anticipate that the Iguana field will produce 80 million standard cubic feet of gas per day, which will be a significant boost for petrochemical plants in Trinidad, through the NOC.


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