Trinidad and Tobago’s sole LNG producing company, Atlantic LNG expects 2017 to be the worst year yet in terms of production due to ongoing gas supply shortages in the country.
LNG production at Atlantic’s 14.8 mtpa facility in Point Fortin has been declining for almost two years due to the shortages in Trinidad caused by a lack in upstream investment and upgrades to gas infrastructure.
“Atlantic is suffering very badly from big gas supply shortages on a scale we have never experienced before,” Atlantic’s CEO Nigel Darlow said in a statement.
“Year to date 2016, Atlantic has suffered on average over 30% gas supply shortage and there is no significant improvement in the foreseeable future. In fact, 2017 is predicted to be worse still with overall gas shortage close to 35%.
“It is very serious for us, equating to something like 75 LNG cargoes lost each year. Atlantic is suffering the vast majority of gas supply shortage in the country,” Darlow said.
Describing how the low gas supply was impacting daily company operations, Darlow explained that Atlantic faced daily challenges in continually turning turbines and compressors “up and down and on and off”.
“That’s not how they were designed,” he said. “We need to understand the impact that this is having on our operating envelope and our maintenance requirements and on our plant and on our equipment. We must ensure that the low levels of plant utilization do not present process safety risks which are not fully understood and properly managed.”
He added that while the current market environment of low commodity prices was understandably causing companies to focus on cost reduction, this was potentially dangerous from the perspective of safety.
“No organisation will knowingly compromise safety in pursuit of cost reductions,” Darlow said. “But we must be careful about sub-consciously sending the wrong message and in doing so having unintended consequences. In looking for cost efficiencies and optimising how we work we must never cut safety corners.”
Atlantic LNG produces the chilled fuel from natural gas delivered from offshore fields north and east of Trinidad owned and operated by affiliates of Atlantic’s members and others.
The company is owned by BP, Shell, China’s sovereign wealth fund CIC unit Summer Soca and Trinidad’s state-owned company NGC.
LNG World News Staff