Shell PLC has given the green light for the development of the Manatee gas field off the coast of Trinidad and Tobago, providing a much-needed boost for the country’s gas supply. As Latin America’s largest LNG exporter, Trinidad has been grappling with a shortage of gas for its flagship Atlantic LNG project. The government has been making efforts to fast-track new gas projects in order to revive operations and support its petrochemical industry.
Currently, Trinidad has the capacity to process up to 4.2 billion cubic feet per day of gas, but it is only producing about 2.7 billion cubic feet per day. This shortfall has been a cause for concern, prompting Shell to step in and seek financial approval for the development of the Manatee field.
However, before finalizing its investment decision, Shell is still awaiting environmental approval for the project. The Manatee field is part of the cross-border Loran-Manatee discovery, with Venezuela holding the majority of the gas reserves. Trinidad and Venezuela had been negotiating a joint development agreement for the field, but these talks fell through due to US sanctions on Venezuela’s energy industry.
Fortunately, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has now agreed to allow Trinidad to independently develop its portion of the field. This agreement comes as a relief, as it allows Trinidad to progress with the much-needed gas project. The development plan for the Manatee field envisages peak production of 700 million cubic feet per day of gas, although no specific timeline for the first gas has been provided.
In addition to the Manatee field, Trinidad is also actively pursuing other avenues to access natural gas resources. It is engaging in offshore bidding rounds and seeking joint development opportunities with Venezuela’s Dragon field. These efforts highlight Trinidad’s commitment to diversifying its energy portfolio and ensuring a stable supply of natural gas.
The development of the Manatee gas field brings hope for Trinidad’s energy sector and paves the way for increased production and economic growth. With Shell’s financial approval and the agreement from Venezuela, the country can now move forward in its pursuit to restore operations and feed its petrochemical industry.
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