Shell Green Lights Investment in Manatee Development Off Trinidad

Gas reserves will prove an important feedstock for Atlantic LNG facilities.

Map and flag of Trinidad and Tobago
Pawel Gaul/Getty Images/iStockphoto

Trinidad Prime Minister Keith Rowley said supermajor Shell has given financial approval for the Manatee field development project offshore Trinidad and Tobago, according to Reuters.

The Manatee field is part of the cross-border Loran-Manatee discovery, shared by Trinidad and Venezuela. The field is believed to hold around 10 Tcf of natural gas, with 7.3 Tcf on Venezuela’s side and the remaining 2.7 Tcf on Trinidad’s side.

The countries negotiated for years to jointly develop the reservoir and signed preliminary agreements, but a final agreement had not been completed by the time the US imposed sanctions in 2019 on Venezuela’s energy industry, limiting its partnerships and business with foreign companies. Venezuela President Nicolás Maduro later agreed to allow Trinidad to independently develop its portion of the massive natural gas field.

Earlier this year, Shell submitted, and the government accepted, the field development plan that calls for peak production of 700 MMcf/D.

Trinidad is Latin America’s largest LNG exporter, but feedstock gas to its flagship Atlantic LNG project has waned and can no longer keep its four liquefaction units operating.

The country can process up to 4.2 Bcf/D of gas into LNG, petrochemicals, and electricity, but currently is producing about 2.7 Bcf/D.

Shell has sought environmental approval to proceed but has not made a final investment decision, a spokesperson said.