UPDATE 3-Trinidad in talks with Europe to supply Venezuelan gas

(Adds comments by NGC’s head in paragraphs 6-7 and 13)

By Curtis Williams

PORT OF SPAIN, Jan 22 (Reuters) – Trinidad and Tobago has begun talks with some European countries on the supply of liquefied natural gas (LNG) produced from Venezuelan gas, Prime Minister Keith Rowley said on Monday.

Venezuela’s government in December granted a 30-year license to Shell and Trinidad’s National Gas Company (NGC) for joint development of a promising offshore gas field near the maritime border between the two countries. First output could begin by the end of next year.

“There is serious European interest in what is happening in Trinidad and Tobago as they attempt to bring to market resources from South America,” Rowley said during an energy conference in Port of Spain.

The Dragon project could mark Venezuela’s first exports of its vast offshore gas reserves, with an initial output of 185 million cubic feet per day. The parties have begun preparing a development plan, Trinidad’s energy minister Stuart Young said at the same conference.

Venezuela is trying to monetize its gas reserves to complement revenue from oil and fuel exports, which constitutes the country’s largest source of income in hard currency.

On its side, Trinidad wants to gain access to its neighbors gas deposits as output from its own fields is set to continue dwindling through 2028, said the head of the state-run National Gas Company, Mark Loquan.

Trinidad needs extra gas supplies to boost production and exports of LNG, ammonia and methanol as global demand rises, Loquan added.

Trinidad is interested in using its spare LNG capacity to process gas from Guyana and Suriname, which aim to expand their oil and gas output in the coming years, Rowley added.


Trinidad has in recent years increased pressure over producers, especially offshore, to bring gas output online as soon as possible so it can put an idled LNG train back in service and ramp up exports.

The nation also hopes to catch new investment through a bidding round for deepwater blocks planned for this year.

Among the projects expected to contribute with new supplies is the $850 million Cypre Gas, off Trinidad’s southeast coast, operated by BP. Cypre’s field development plan was recently approved by the government, Young said, putting it on track to have first gas in 2025.

The minister said BP and partner EOG Resources are expected to inaugurate output at the Mento gas field next year, following completion of the production facilities design. The project includes 12 development wells, according to information previously disclosed by BP.

The shared gas fields Loran-Manatee and Cocuina-Manakin between Venezuela and Trinidad, and a project to recover Venezuela’s flared gas might also contribute to Trinidad’s expected gas supplies from 2028 on, according to Loquan. (Reporting by Cutris Williams, writing by Marianna Parraga; editing by Christina Fincher and Jonathan Oatis)

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