BHP takes a bullish approach to Trion and Ruby

BHP has contracted Altera Infrastructure subsidiary Teekay Shipping, BW Offshore, and SBM Offshore for its deepwater Trion field development in the US Gulf of Mexico.
BHP takes a bullish approach to Trion and Ruby BHP takes a bullish approach to Trion and Ruby BHP takes a bullish approach to Trion and Ruby BHP takes a bullish approach to Trion and Ruby BHP takes a bullish approach to Trion and Ruby

Paul Hunt

Senior Journalist: Energy & Commodities

Paul Hunt

Under the award the three companies will work together on an engineering study for a floating storage and offloading unit which will form the basis of the Trion field development. 

In a statement on Friday, BHP said it anticipated the engineering study to be completed by the end of this calendar year. 

"This work reflects another advancement for the Trion project, and we look forward to working with the selected contractors through this study phase," BHP president of petroleum operations Geraldine Slattery said. 

"By engaging with the selected contractors now, we're better enabled to optimize the design, and contracting and execution strategies for the FSO delivery."

BHP owns 60% of the Trion project and earlier this year selected SBM Offshore and Technip for semi-submersible floating production unit design for the field. It also contracted McDermott for a pre-Front End Engineering and Design scope for the FPU. 

The remaining 40% stake in the Mexican oil play is held by state oiler Pemex. 

So far, the joint venture has drilled two appraisal wells on Trion. BHP farmed into the project back in 2016, offering an upfront cash payment of US$62.4 million and promising to invest US$560 million in exploration and appraisal. 

The Trion field sits in roughly 2,500 metres water depth around 180km offshore the southern Mexican coast. 

The oilfield itself spans more than 1280 across on the Perdido belt. It is estimated to hold more than 222 million barrels of oil equivalent on a 2C basis. 

No final investment decision is expected yet, however there has been talk that BHP would look to speed up development with an aim of first oil by 2025. However, this was before the oil price fell to decade lows in March and April, finally recovering somewhat this month. 

The oil price collapse earlier this year hasn't done much to dent BHP chief Mike Henry's quiet Canadian optimism, as the company takes a bullish approach to not just the Trion oilfield development, but also the its Ruby project in Trinidad and Tobago. 

BHP owns a 68.46% operational interest in the big Ruby oilfield in Block 3A off the northeast of the Caribbean coast. 

In February this year, the Australian mining giant contracted McDermott to provide subsea infrastructure for the development of the field. 

The field design will consist of five production wells tied back to existing production facilities. BHP Trinidad and Tobago president Vincent Pereira told local media today that BHP was on schedule for first oil by 2021. 

"It is BHP's expectation that the Ruby jacket will be installed in the second half of this calendar year and start drilling towards the latter half of 2020, so that the project would be in full production and on stream, in the second half of 2021," Pereira told Express Business today. 

Ruby has an estimated recoverable 2C resource of 13.2 million barrels of oil and 274 billion cubic feet of gas. Development is expected to cost US$500 million.