Photo: Deepwater Invictus; Source: Transocean

BHP finds nothing in Trinidad’s big oil hope

Australian oil and gas company BHP has confirmed that one of its highly expected wells offshore Trinidad and Tobago came up dry.

BHP said on Wednesday in its half-year operational review that the Broadside-1 exploration well, located in Block 3 some 150 kilometres from land, did not encounter hydrocarbons.

According to the company, BHP reached the main reservoir on 22 October 2020. The well was plugged and abandoned on 8 November 2020.

BHP, which holds a 65 per cent stake in Block 3, added that it drilled the well to 7,064 meters. The results are under evaluation to determine next steps on the Southern Licences.

The drilling was done using the Transocean’s Deepwater Invictus. BHP used the rig for all of its deepwater drilling in Trinidad and Tobago. To date, BHP drilled 11 deepwater wells and has had success in 8 wells.

According to Trinidad’s Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries, the well was supposed to be the deepest in Trinidad and Tobago’s history. The mark was around 6,100 metres but the well went significantly deeper than that.

It is worth noting that Trinidad’s local media outlet – the Business Guardian – said in late October 2020, citing multiple sources, that the well did not find any oil or gas and had several challenges while it was being drilled.

BHP did not comment or reveal any data on the well until its half-year operational review but one of the country’s leading geologists Krishna Persad said he was very disappointed by the results but admitted that exploration was risky.

The reality is that in exploration you have a thirty, maybe 40 per cent chance of success and therefore seven of every ten wells you drill will be a dry hole. BHP had a tremendous run of success in the Northern License closer to Barbados but that is not always replicated”, he added.

Persad also stated that all was not lost as he is convinced that there was significant oil and gas to be found in Trinidad’s deepwater but that BHP was unable to find it as of yet.

BHP has drilled four exploration wells in the Southern Licences and has not found oil. It has found some gas and condensate but no oil. This has made those gas discoveries uneconomic since they have not been large enough for deepwater.

The Broadside-1 well result is quite a shame as the Energy Chamber of Trinidad and Tobago touted it as one of the ‘projects to watch’ along with Chinook-1.

Unlike Broadside, Touchstone Exploration’s Chinook well is located offshore and has been successful and seen as a ‘significant gas discovery’ by the operator.