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Shell Buying Out Chevron's T&T Stakes in Gassy Offshore Fields, LNG Company

Royal Dutch plc is expanding its natural gas-rich holdings in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago (T&T) after agreeing to buy Chevron Corp.'s interests in the strategic twin-island Caribbean nation.

In a transaction estimated to be worth $250 million, Shell subsidiary BG International Ltd. is acquiring all of the shares in Chevron Trinidad and Tobago Resources SLR, including half-stakes in three natural gas fields offshore in the East Coast Marine Area in blocks 6, 5a and E. Chevron also is selling all of its interest in Trinling Ltd., a liquefied natural gas (LNG) marketing and transportation company, to BG Gas International Holdings BV.

"Trinidad and Tobago represents a rich opportunity for us to continue building our integrated gas position in country and securing new competitive production," said Shell's Derek Hudson, vice-president of the Trinidad & Tobago unit. "Shell continues to actively evaluate other options to increase supply from our existing assets, as well as pursue additional opportunities," similar to its previous purchase of UK-based Centrica's interest in the North Coast Marine Area of the nation.

The transaction is expected to close by mid-year.

In the East Coast Marine Area, Chevron's Dolphin field consists of a 13-well platform, while Dolphin Deep has two subsea wells tied back to the Dolphin platform. The Starfish field consists of three subsea wells tied back to the Dolphin platform. In 2016, net production from the three gas fields averaged 74 MMcf/d. Volumes were sold under long-term sales contracts to supply the domestic market and for LNG exports.

Chevron also is selling part of its stake offshore in the Manatee Area of Block 6(d), a single cross-border field with Venezuela's Loran Field in Block 2, where cross-border agreements exist between the two governments. Chevron would retain its interest in the block on the Venezuelan side of the border. Last year work continued on maturing commercial development of the project.

Shell has been working in T&T for more than a century and today has stakes in several projects, many gas-based, including deepwater blocks held by BHP Billiton Ltd. and the Le Clerc deepwater gas discovery. In 2013, Shell struck a deal to acquire, among other things, Spain's Repsol SA's LNG portfolio in T&T. Shell also has a lubricant business in T&T and owns a lubricant blending plant. In addition, Shell Global Solutions provides technical services to the T&T-owned oil company Petrotrin.

BP plc continues to be one of the biggest players in the Caribbean nation, where in April it ramped up a gas compression project onshore Trinidad. Full startup of the compression project is slated to take place over the next few months, eventually able to deliver up to 200 MMcf/d of gas.

Although U.S. onshore gas has blunted T&T's efforts in North America, the twin-island nation remains the largest oil and gas producer in the Caribbean. T&T into the early 2000s served as the major source of LNG for the U.S. market, supplying almost 80% of imported gas. The nation's energy growth was fueled by a partnership between BP, the former BG, Repsol and the National Gas Co. of T&T to build the first of four large LNG plants. The venture began exporting gas in 1999.

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