Woodside making strides in developing deepwater gas project

Australian energy giant Woodside Energy has discussed the inroads made in the development of its deepwater natural gas field off the coast of Trinidad with the country’s Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries. The negotiations on fiscal terms are said to be close to crossing the finish line.

Illustration; Credit: Jarrad Seng/Woodside

While providing an update on the Calypso deepwater field, Woodside discussed the progress made in fiscal terms negotiations for the project with Stuart Young, Trinidad and Tobago’s Minister of Energy and Energy Industries. The duo highlights that these negotiations, which have been going well, are drawing to a close.

The minister, along with other senior officials, met with Shiva McMahon, EVP International Operations at Woodside Energy; Kellyanne Lochan, Country Manager Woodside Trinidad and Tobago; Stacy Patrick, Calypso Project Director; Onne Peters, Vice President Atlantic Sales; and Dr. Carla Noel-Mendez, Corporate Affairs Manager at Woodside.

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Located approximately 225 kilometers off the East coast of Trinidad in around 2,100 meters of water depth, the Calypso field is operated by Woodside with a 70% interest, while BP holds the remaining 30%. The project’s appraisal drilling program, consisting of the Bongos-3, Bongos-3X, and Bongos-4 wells, concluded on December 20, 2021, during which all wells encountered hydrocarbons. 

The Calypso resource, encompassing multiple gas discoveries in Block 23(a) and Block TTDAA 14, is situated in a region with existing infrastructure and a favorable demand outlook. Woodside wrapped up conceptual studies in the first half of 2023 and selected an infield host as the preferred development concept.

Furthermore, the pre-FEED engineering began in the second half of 2023 to mature the definition of the concept. Currently, marketing and commercial discussions are ongoing with stakeholders to evaluate options to monetize the resource. In April 2024, Woodside hired Argeo to perform the 2024 autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) geophysical survey for the Calypso field, starting in the third quarter.

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According to Young, the government of Trinidad and Tobago is open to working with energy sector stakeholders to monetize the country’s natural gas resources for the benefit of its citizens. During the meeting, Woodside’s executives reaffirmed the company’s commitment to the development of Trinidad and Tobago’s hydrocarbon resources.

After the country’s Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries released the national natural gas audit for 2021 and 2022 last week, Young and the consultants from DeGolyer and MacNaughton (D&M) of Dallas, Texas, highlighted the growth in the country’s reserves position.

Young underlined: “The P1 + C1 technically recoverable resources, which were formerly referred to as proved reserves, experienced a 6.2% increase from 2020 to 2021. Between 2020 and 2021, there was a 168% replacement of this resource, compared to 57% replacement between 2019 and 2020. This means that 0.93 TCF of P1 + C1 resources produced were replaced by additions 7 amounting to 1.56 TCF in that year, raising the P1 + C1 resources from 10.2 TCF to 10.9 TCF.”

Afterward, he noted that the P1 + C1 technically recoverable resources rose by 5.9% from 2021 to 2022 while there was a 165% replacement of this resource, thus, 0.99 TCF of P1 + C1 resources produced were replaced by additions amounting to 1.63 TCF in that year, raising the P1 + C1 resources from 10.9 TCF to 11.5 TCF.

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Moreover, Young pinpointed Woodside, Shell, and Touchstone Exploration as the three operators that contributed the most to the positive growth in the P1 + C1 technically recoverable resources. Woodside’s operated assets volumes saw a jump of 49% during the period, because of two Bongos field appraisal wells which confirmed 8 volumes in blocks in the North, Central, and South sections of the field during the second half of 2021.

Based on Young’s data, the second largest volume increase by an operator came from Shell, which added large Manatee volumes because of the 2019 agreement between the government of Trinidad and Tobago and the government of Venezuela, setting the allowable recoverable volume on the Trinidad side and the execution of the Manatee production sharing contract (PSC) in November 2021.

Touchstone, which earned third place, is said to have tripled its volumes consequent on the CAS-Deep-1 well drilled in the first quarter of 2021, leading to a revision of the gas-in-place estimate and an increase in the expected recovery. Young is optimistic about the opportunities for cross-border gas with Venezuela and sees it as a way to boost the volumes of this fossil fuel.

Trinidad, which is said to be the second largest LNG exporter in the Americas, has Atlantic LNG as its sole LNG producer, exporting approximately 15 million tons per annum. The company started the construction of Train 1 at its Point Fortin facility in 1996, with the first LNG produced in 1999.

Three additional trains have been built since then. A holding company, that owns each of the four trains, comprises different member companies, including the National Gas Company of Trinidad and Tobago (NGC), BP, and Shell.