Trinidad natural gas curtailments likely to continue in 2012

29 February 2012 16:16  [Source: ICIS news]

Yara ammonia plant in TrinidadHOUSTON (ICIS)--Curtailed deliveries of natural gas to chemical producers in Trinidad will likely continue, with reductions of 10-20% in 2012, an official with the National Gas Company (NGC) of Trinidad and Tobago said on Wednesday.

"The natural gas curtailments to chemical producers in the Point Lisas Industrial Complex will continue for the foreseeable future as BP continues to systematically perform safety maintenance procedures on its well platforms," said NGC vice president Wade Hamilton.

BP is the largest of four companies that supply natural gas to Trinidad. Following the 2010 accident at BP's Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico, BP has been performing safety inspections and maintenance on its wells in the waters around Trinidad.

"BP has a system for taking its wells out of service for safety inspection and maintenance," Hamilton said. "When a well is out of service, the natural gas received by the NGC is reduced and it has to be allocated accordingly."

Since early 2011, methanol, ammonia and other chemical producers in Point Lisas have experienced natural gas curtailments ranging from 10-30%, occasionally resulting in plant shutdowns.

Ammonia producer Yara, for example, operates four ammonia plants in Point Lisas and has found it more economical on occasion to shut down one of the plants and keep three operational than to operate all four plants at 75% of capacity because of limited natural gas availability.

"BP Trinidad and Tobago (BPTT) will continue its rigorous safety agenda aimed at reducing safety and operational risk across our offshore and onshore facilities," said BP corporate communications manager Danielle Jones.

"The work will include routine preventative maintenance programmes as well as major turnarounds on our facilities to ensure we are maintaining our facilities as per our company and industry standards and requirements," Jones said.

BPTT operates 13 natural gas platforms and provides 65% of the natural gas supply to Trinidad.


By: Frank Zaworski
+1 713 525 2653



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