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French Perenco oil company sees potential in Petrotrin's E&P assets


By Business Guardian

Petroleumworld 03 02 2018

Is French oil and gas company Perenco the front runner to buy into what will be the newly established Exploration and Production company to replace state-owned Petrotrin?

Well Petrotrin's chairman Wilfred Espinet told Business and Money that while there is no immediate move to bring a partner into the new entity, Perenco has the capital, expertise and experience that the Exploration and Production company will need when it comes into being.

Espinet was at pains to point out that no decision has been made on a partner for the new enterprise but insisted that the E&P company will need capital that can be risked to increase production and put the business on a sustainable footing.

The Board of Petrotrin has decided to split the company into two with an Exploration and Production company and a Refining and Marketing company.

Only recently in an exclusive interview with Business and Money, managing director of Perenco Trinidad, Baptiste Breton, said the French outfit would be interested in Trinmar should the government make it available.

He said, “Of course we will be interested in the Trinmar asset if it is on the table. We would certainly look at it. We are a company interested in mature oil and gas assets and we are looking for opportunities in T&T but we have not seen any at the moment.”

The government has stated its intention to fix Petrotirn this year and has lamented that the company's cost of producing oil both on land and in its Trinmar asset was too expensive and would require a mixture of capital injection and significantly more investment to make it profitable.

In addition, it is well known that the Trinmar asset which produces around 20,000 barrels of oil per day (bo/d), has significant potential to produce a lot more oil.

The Trinmar asset has more than 100 million barrels of proven reserves and significant exploration prospects but has not been able to bring the oil to market because of ageing infrastructure.

With the decision to form an E&P company it means that in addition to the Trinmar asset, the land assets are also available and with it an additional 22,000 bo/d.

Espinet said, “We have seen the reports of the interest of Perenco in the asset and we have also seen how the company has come in and bought the Repsol assets and how it has been able to turn it around. So we are very impressed and certainly if we decide to go with a partner in the E&P company Perenco would certainly be a possibility.”

Perenco is known globally for purchasing aging assets and turning them around.

It is also the operator and 70 per cent owner of the Teak Samaan Pouis or TSP fields off the East coast of Mayaro that was once operated by Amoco.

Breton said that Perenco is confident that by 2020 it can increase TSP daily production to in excess of 15,000 barrels of oil per day.

This would be a 25 per cent increase in production from its current 12,000 bo/d.

Perenco's managing director said, “You have to consider that we are losing 500 to 1000 bo/d in production every year and therefore what we are doing is saying we will compensate for that annual loss and plateau the production to more than 15,000 bo/d and this can be done by 2020.”

With a projection from Petrotrin's Board of directors that even with the best will in the world, the Refining and Marketing company will not turn a profit, Petrotrin's chairman said that taxpayers were likely stuck with the refinery.

He said, “I do not see a potential investor in the R&M company because the cashflows show that it is unlikely to be profitable unless some strange twist of events happen.”

Pressed on why taxpayers should continue to support the company he said it was necessary to save valuable, skilled jobs and to earn foreign exchange.

Story from Trinidad & Tobago Guardian
03 01 2018

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