Sun | Aug 20, 2017

BP Trinidad may cut jobs but not oil investments

Published:Wednesday | January 20, 2016 | 1:01 AM

BP Trinidad & Tobago (BPTT) says it is likely to invest more than US$1.5 billion, despite the drop in oil prices on the world market, and plans to rationalise costs at the company.

"As a testament to our confidence in the future, we spent close to US$1.5 billion in 2015, and if the surface conditions are right, we will spend more than that in 2016, despite the significant negative impact of prices on our earnings, and cash flow," said BPTT regional president Norman Christie while addressing the Trinidad & Tobago Energy Conference in Port of Spain on Monday.

BPTT previously announced that it would be making cuts at the company, given the prevailing conditions for oil.

"Downturns like the one we are in result in major dislocations for employees, contractors, communities, partners and the country," Christie said Monday. He said BPTT's rationalisations "may result in job losses" and that the company would adhere to local laws that guide such separations.

CURRENT SHORTFALLS

Last week, BPTT said its focus was cost efficiencies in its business in 2016, which would include "a review of third party costs, activity prioritisation, process simplification and organisational structure".

Christie told Monday's energy conference the plans are still under review and specific numbers are to be finalised.

He also said the company was confident in the economic prospects of Trinidad and Tobago.

"It is encouraging to hear that despite low energy prices, there is much activity in the upstream," Christie said, adding, "we opened the year to hear of BHP's plans to begin development in TT's deep water, and of the government's positive discussions with Venezuela that can potentially lead to increased opportunities for both countries," said the oil executive.

"These future focused plans are just what our country needs to boost confidence in our energy sector."

BPTT's newest investment, the Jupiter Project in which it has pumped US$2 million, is expected to increase its production to pre-2012 levels to help alleviate current gas shortfalls, the company said at the weekend, and that the "first gas from the facility" is expected in 2017.

Meanwhile, The Trinidadian government said Monday that Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley is leading talks with BHP Billiton executives, including president of Exploration Dr David Rainey, vice-president of Exploration Dr Niall McCormack, and president of BHP Billiton TT, Vincent Pereira.

"The parties discussed matters relating to BHP Billiton's involvement in the energy sector in Trinidad and Tobago with a view to a continued mutually beneficial relationship," Port of Spain said in a statement.

- CMC