Good afternoon and welcome (again)
It’s great to be here today with our partners Shell and the Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries to celebrate the signing of the production sharing contracts for the deepwater blocks.
I have the relatively easy job of signing the production sharing contracts but I acknowledge the fact that today’s signing has come through months of very intense work by teams from bp, Shell and Government. I would like to congratulate – and thank – everyone who worked tirelessly to bring us to where we are today.
On a personal note, today is also a farewell of sorts for Eugene. Eugene, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed working with you and I’m sorry to see you go but I’m confident that you are leaving us in good hands. I would also like to welcome Adam Lowmass (if present). Adam, you are certainly coming at a pivotal time for T&T.
I myself am nearing a personal milestone – October 1st will mark one year since I began my role as president of bp Trinidad and Tobago. One year on and I remain as excited about our work in bpTT and about the country’s energy sector.
From very early into my tenure I recognized the critical importance of Trinidad and Tobago’s deepwater acreage.
Today’s signing demonstrates a continuation of our commitment to unlock the potential we see in the deepwater acreage. There is still a long way to go and a lot of work to be done however this is a very important first step, in what will – hopefully – lead to more success and development of Trinidad and Tobago’s deepwater acreage.
It’s a natural progression. The Columbus Basin has, for decades, been at the heart of T&T’s energy sector and bp, has operated in the Basin for decades, building knowledge and experience of this country’s subsurface. It’s time to step out into the deep, as it were, and as we do this, we intend to lean on bp’s global deepwater expertise.
This morning’s signing is important from a global perspective as well.
The world needs more energy. Hydrocarbons – especially gas – will continue to play an important role. In fact, according to bp’s Energy Outlook, natural gas is set to grow, driven by demand from developing countries. This, of course is important to T&T as it highlights demand for this country’s natural gas which we know continues to drive the economy. At bp we are focused on securing T&T’s energy future. That means maximizing current production from the shallow water acreage where we currently operate but, importantly, this also includes de-risking and progressing resources in new basins as well, as is the case with the deepwater.
Now, the world is demanding energy that is lower carbon and we’re getting there but, as Minister Young has stated on more than one occasion, increasing natural gas production needs to be this country’s priority while we also pursue options for bringing more green energy into the energy mix.
In that sense, we need to look at this morning signing as part of a bigger picture for T&T and to recognize the work that is being progressed to develop this country’s energy sector. At the end of last year, the stakeholders of Atlantic LNG announced a new structure for the company. That structure is less complex and is set to benefit all stakeholders – government and private sector. More importantly, those agreements, once signed, will provide a base for future investment by upstream operators, giving us more certainty and the confidence to invest much needed capital.
These deepwater PSCs that we are signing today, along with Atlantic restructuring which is nearing completion, and even solar, also give us a glimpse of the future. It is a future in which we all need to explore new ideas and different ways of operating. It is a future in which all stakeholders will need to collaborate to explore solutions that benefit public and private sectors in the long run.
We’re focused on securing T&T’s energy future but one thing is for certain: It will not be business as usual. Back in June, at Amcham’s AGM, I spoke about the need for cautious optimism regarding T&T’s future. As I said then, I see cautious optimism as firstly recognizing opportunities but also being committed to working towards a better future. I actually mentioned deepwater as one of my sources of optimism and it is encouraging that here we are, a few months later, signing agreements that will see even more activity in the deepwater.
As I mentioned earlier, these are very early days. There is a lot of work to be done to prove the potential we believe exists in this acreage and I am excited by the possibilities that exist in the deepwater (I know for sure that my subsurface team is raring to go because this is what they live for!). I look forward to continuing to work with our joint venture partners Shell and the Government to secure Trinidad and Tobago’s energy future.