Notes From The Margin

August 11, 2007

How Much Gas Does Trinidad Have?

An interesting story has been making the rounds of the news recently, about a recent audit of Trinidad and Tobago’s natural gas reserves that showed a sharper than expected drop.

The Trinidad and Tobago Government is expected to release details of its latest natural gas audit by mid-month following newspaper reports that the Houston-based audit consultant, Ryder Scott, found an 11 per cent decline in the country’s natural gas reserves.

The article continues….

Energy Minister, Dr. Lenny Saith, does not appear worried by the natural gas audit report. He seems focused on increasing natural gas production to meet increasing demand over the next eight years.

Government is encouraging energy companies to pursue an aggressive exploratory programme in deep water, as well as land and near shore areas to ensure that new supplies of gas are found to meet the huge gas demand of a new model of downstream industries which will include petrochemicals, plastics and metals.

This is interesting  given that Trinidad’s claimed territorial area has been greatly reduced by the recent UNLOS decision. The graphic below show’s what Trinidad claimed as it’s border before Barbados took the matter to the UN.

Trinidad’s Border Before Going to Arbitration

The orange line in the gray area shows the border claimed by Trinidad during the arbitration. The graphic below shows the Maritime space that Trinidad has after the UN decision.

TnT maritime space after UNLOS

It’s fairly clear that the Maritime space has been significantly curtailed by the UNLOS decision. What this means is that the potential areas for exploration have been significantly reduced. This begs the question, precisely how much Gas does Trinidad have in reserve? At one point projections were for 20 years, some opposition figures have placed the figure as low as 9 years (however it should be stressed that this interpretation is open to debate).

 Small wonder that the IMF in it’s recent Article IV consultation urged the Port of Spain Government to diversify it’s economy away from petroleum.  It’s also not clear how this information affects the proposed construction of a natural gas pipeline between Barbados and Trinidad.

The billion dollar question is…. How much time does Trinidad have before it runs out of gas?




  1. Interesting information; always good to have people like you around to give a different or ‘unseen’ angle to the facts. See the ‘Upside of Down’ article I read yesterday – I quote

    “The kicker to all of this is that the availability of cheap energy (in this case oil derived) is now dropping due to a conflation of factors – increasing demand from China and India as well as worldwide, the increasing cost of oil extraction amidst aging wells globally, increasingly hostile environments for oil exploration both in the Gulf of Mexico and the Arctic and fewer remaining unmapped oil repositories (in general, the world is very well mapped in terms of oil deposits). This means that the EROI for oil (and by similar arguments natural gas) is climbing, and most other alternatives have considerably smaller EROI.

    These factors, coupled with the likelihood of increasingly problematic global climatic conditions, are creating similar type of stressors to the ones that the Romans faced fairly late in their growth cycle, specifically increasing complexity and brittleness of the system at just precisely those times when everything seems to be going wrong at once. He does not argue that we’re looking at a global collapse, though that is certainly one scenario, but he does argue that there is a need to make the nodes within the various systems more localized and autonomous (more resilient), or the danger exists that when a breakdown of the system does occur, it will cause a cascade that could wreak far more damage than would happen otherwise.”

    What with climate change already wreaking some havoc, the coastal regions in Trinidad already affected, the issues you just stated here, it seems that the wise thing to do is to start diversifying; good luck to Trinidad if they don’t diversify.

    Comment by jobs4construction — August 11, 2007 @ 3:50 pm | Reply

  2. […] Notes from the Margin asks “the billion dollar question….how much time does Trinidad have before it runs out of gas?” Share This […]

    Pingback by Global Voices Online » Barbados, Trinidad & Tobago: Gas Timeline — August 12, 2007 @ 5:45 pm | Reply

  3. Trinidad doesn’t have less oil and gas reserves now that the UNLOS decision is in.
    They just have less of an ability to unilaterally invoke their will on others!

    Comment by TheWatcher — August 15, 2007 @ 9:18 pm | Reply

  4. I am trying to find any information on my father David Woods who died in Moruga, Trinidad
    1971. I have been looking for any info for many years. Does your the Gurdian have obituraries from that year? I would appreciate any help I could get. Thank you to whoever reads and answers this question.
    Marilyn L. Cooper

    Comment by Marilyn Lamb Cooper — October 11, 2010 @ 8:39 am | Reply

  5. Thank you

    Comment by Marilyn Lamb Cooper — October 11, 2010 @ 8:40 am | Reply

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