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A consortium of bp and Shell has signed an agreement with Trinidad and Tobago to explore three deepwater blocks – 25a, 25b and 27 – for hydrocarbon production.

Trinidad and Tobago Minister of Energy Stuart Young said the award of three deep-water blocks has been approved by the cabinet.

The parties are expected to sign the material production sharing contracts (PSCs) on 26 September 2023.

The agreement comes almost nine months after the consortium’s original bids were rejected by the Trinidad Government after failing to meet required standards, reported Reuters.

Subsequently, the consortium revised its initial proposals to include the drilling of at least three deep-water wells under a proposed minimum work programme. This involves acquiring 3D seismic imaging of the unexplored acreage.

A statement from Trinidad and Tobago Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries read: “The Ministry of Energy and the consortium have been engaged in complex negotiations over the terms and conditions of the PSCs having regard to, inter alia, the fact that the blocks to be awarded are located in deep water and required different and novel considerations due to the nature of the expected exploration and possible future production.”

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The agreement needs to be approved by the attorney general’s office prior to granting the licences, reported Reuters, citing people with knowledge of the matter.

bp and Shell were quoted by the news agency as saying: “The consortium can confirm that they are close to finalising negotiations with the Government of Trinidad and Tobago relating to deep water blocks offshore Trinidad and Tobago.”

The deal is expected to help the country in accelerating offshore exploration and production as it seeks to secure more natural gas needed to support its liquefied natural gas and petrochemical industries.