Australian firm BHP has approved a $283m investment in developing the Ruby project situated in Trinidad and Tobago.

The total investment in the offshore project will be nearly $500m, including pre-commitment capital.

BHP Petroleum Operations president Geraldine Slattery said: “This is an important milestone for BHP in Trinidad and Tobago. Ruby aligns well with our strategy of maximising value from our existing assets, bringing competitive near-term value and volume growth.”

With BHP owning a 68.46% stake, the Ruby project is located in the Block 3(a) development area of Trinidad and Tobago. It includes five production wells tied back utilising the latent capacity of the existing processing facilities.

The project also utilises proven technology of the existing asset and the recently acquired ocean bottom node seismic imaging.

It has estimated recoverable 2C Resources of 13.2MMbbl of oil and 274 billion cubic feet of natural gas.

BHP aims to achieve first production in the 2021 calendar year. The Ruby project will increase production by 16,000bpd of oil and 80 million standard cubic feet per day at its peak level.

Heritage Petroleum (20.13%) and the National Gas Company of Trinidad and Tobago (11.41%) hold the remaining stake in the project.

Headquartered in Melbourne, BHP is involved in the extraction and processing minerals, oil and gas in Australia and the Americas.

Earlier this year, BHP decided to expand production at the Atlantis Phase 3 project in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico. Located 208km off the coast of Louisiana, US, the project is operated by BP.