Shell sanctions big gas project and anticipates LNG growth in Trinidad and Tobago

Shell Trinidad and Tobago Limited, a subsidiary of the UK-headquartered energy giant Shell, has taken a final investment decision (FID) for a gas development project offshore Trinidad and Tobago, which is expected to boost its liquified natural gas (LNG) arsenal.

Atlantic LNG

The FID for the Manatee undeveloped gas field in the East Coast Marine Area (ECMA) in Trinidad and Tobago is interpreted to enable Shell to competitively grow its Integrated Gas business by building on development efforts in the ECMA, which is perceived to be one of the country’s most prolific gas-producing areas. 

Zoë Yujnovich, Shell’s Integrated Gas and Upstream Director, commented: “This project will help meet the increasing demand for natural gas globally while also addressing the energy needs of our customers domestically in Trinidad and Tobago. The investment bolsters our world-leading LNG portfolio in line with our commitment to invest in competitive projects that deliver more value with less emissions.”

The company began seeking environmental clearance for the Manatee project in September 2023, with the submission of an application for a certificate of environmental clearance to Trinidad and Tobago’s Environmental Management Authority (EMA). The development plan indicates that the recovered hydrocarbons from Manatee would be delivered by drilling eight new development wells from a new, normally unmanned offshore platform from which gas and condensate would be delivered to shore via a new gas pipeline.

Afterward, the hydrocarbons would be processed at National Gas Company’s existing Beachfield Facility and delivered for sale to both export and domestic markets. The Manatee field is part of the giant Loran-Manatee field that straddles Trinidad and Tobago’s maritime boundary with Venezuela. The Loran-Manatee field was discovered in 1983 and subsequently appraised via four wells.

Loran represents the portion of the field in Venezuelan waters and Manatee represents the portion of the field in Trinidad and Tobago waters. The combined field has an estimated resource of 10.04 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of natural gas, of which 2.712 tcf is within the Manatee portion. Shell is the operator of Manatee with a 100% working interest under the sub-Block 6D production sharing contract (PSC).

Furthermore, the ECMA is already home to the oil major’s largest gas-producing fields in the country including Dolphin, Starfish, Bounty, and Endeavour. However, the Manatee gas field is also envisioned to provide backfill for Trinidad’s Atlantic LNG facility. The UK energy heavyweight sees the ramp-up of utilization at existing LNG plants as an important lever to maximize the potential of its existing assets.

Shell has set its cap on growing its LNG business by 20-30% by 2030, compared with 2022, with LNG liquefaction volumes planned to increase by 25-30%, relative to 2022. The expansion of the UK firm’s LNG portion is aligned with its ‘LNG Outlook 2024,’ forecasting a rise in global demand for LNG of more than 50% by 2040.

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Manatee, which is slated to start production in 2027, is expected to reach peak production of approximately 104,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boe/d) (604 MMscf/d). McDermott won a limited notice to proceed in November 2023 concerning the project’s engineering, procurement, construction, and installation (EPCI) contract.

The U.S. giant’s project scope encompasses the design, procurement, fabrication, transportation, installation, and commissioning of a wellhead platform, along with offshore and onshore gas pipelines.