Techbits: Sustainable Development of Natural Gas Explored in Trinidad
- _ JPT staff (_)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- December 2009
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 26 - 32
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SPE’s Applied Technology Workshop (ATW) titled “Natural Gas: Development in a Sustainable Manner” and held earlier this year in Port of Spain, Trinidad, served as a catalyst for discussions about the prudent development and use of the natural-gas resources of Trinidad and Tobago.
Sustainable development, defined as development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs, was at the forefront of each session of the workshop. Presenters shared both local and international experiences on a variety of topics across the natural-gas value chain, from upstream to downstream, and highlighted sustainable solutions for long-term development of the resource.
Growing Global Gas Demand
BHP Billiton’s Nigel Sookdeo, cochair of the ATW’s technical program, began with an overview of the importance of natural gas, stressing that it will continue to be a key energy source for the downstream industrial sector and power generation for decades to come. He pointed to estimates from the US Department of Energy and others that natural-gas demand is expected to increase from its present rate of 106 to 158 Tcf per annum by 2030—an average increase of 2% per year. This demand growth is partially tied to the relative cleanliness of natural gas vs. other fossil fuels in terms of lower CO2 emissions—a factor that is expected to become more important for regulatory agencies charged with enforcing ever-stricter standards for greenhouse-gas emissions.
For Trinidad and Tobago, natural-gas production is at approximately 4 Bcf/D, which is 85% of the country’s daily BOE production and makes it the world’s 20th-largest gas producer. Gas and the rest of the upstream sector generate up to 55% of the country’s revenue in the form of petroleum taxation. The country has monetized its vast gas resource by developing a large downstream petrochemical sector in the form of feedstock for local petrochemical and power plants, and for liquefied-natural-gas (LNG) export. Trinidad and Tobago is now one of the largest producers of methanol and ammonia, and the fifth-largest exporter of LNG.In terms of local consumption, approximately 60% of the total natural gas produced is used for LNG production and export, and 15% each for ammonia and methanol manufacture. Despite the global financial crisis of the past year, further expansion of the downstream petrochemical sector is planned—including new plants for aluminum, gas to liquids, polyethylene, and polypropylene—all requiring natural gas as a feedstock and fuel source. The projected increase in demand is forecast at 550 MMscf/D, which translates to a reserves replacement of 1.5 Tcf required annually to feed this demand. Recent reserves replacement has been on average only 0.75 Tcf per annum.
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