Can you explain what led New Horizon Exploration to enter the Trinidadian market in 1998?

New Horizon Exploration saw the potential for developing oil and gas reserves in Trinidad and Tobago, specifically in the onshore opportunities. The company introduced innovative horizontal drilling technology to the island, proposed drilling ten wells with this technology and brought in a rig for training purposes. The company was awarded a block primarily to test site D, to determine if the Parrylands reservoir would respond in a similar fashion to Septa Gainsborough in Canada. After drilling horizontal wells, they discovered that the reservoirs were not sufficiently homogeneous isotropic and continuous in nature. So, the company started looking for its own solutions.

Are you planning to participate in the next onshore bidding round in Trinidad and Tobago given the technical complexities that New Horizon has faced?

Yes, New Horizon plans to participate in the next onshore bidding round. However, it would be ideal if Trinidad and Tobago followed the bidding procedures used in Colombia. In Colombia, the requirements for companies to qualify for making a bid are clearly specified, and if a company is unsuccessful, the rationale is explained. Trinidad still has a ways to go in reaching that level of efficiency in the bidding round. Due to these differences, the company shipped its rig from Trinidad and Tobago to Colombia in 2008. They were looking to explore carbonate reefs in the Lower Magdalena Valley, where they have defined and are currently drilling 12 carbonate reef prospects.

In the absence of changes in legislation from the government, what has New Horizon done to ensure its production remains profitable?

New Horizon has focused on developing cost-effective technology suited to the needs of mature, onshore fields. They are using artificial lift and their patented automation technology, Smart Pumper, to develop the Parrylands block. During the last ten years, drilling horizontal wells and using injectors, they found that the reservoirs were highly compartmentalized and the highly viscous, heavy crude was difficult to produce. They developed Smart Pumper to maintain specific fluid levels during drilling to ensure the well would not cease to produce oil. They are now producing heavy oil at a viable rate, and their wells are financially viable.

Could you tell us more about PetroCom Technologies and the Smart Pumper technology?

The Smart Pumper platform is a cost-effective automation and monitoring system that can be used to manage any type of well-site operation in real-time over the web through a variety of built-in communication protocols. The Smart Pumper was developed out of the need for consistent, precise, and automatic production to reduce operational expenditures and maximize production run times. For heavy oil, low-production fields, it was evident that effective well management could be achieved through control of pump motor speeds based on real-time fluid levels. PetroCom worked with developers at Direct Drive-Head to commercialize a system that automates this and has become the best practice for well production.

How has the Smart Pumper been received in the industry thus far?

The oil and gas sector is a tight-knit community, and people pay attention to what others are doing. Fram Exploration and Staatsolie are currently using the Smart Pumper, and both have had positive experiences. As companies begin to use it and see results, interest is increasing. It is exciting to see Trinidad and Tobago become the origin of a technology that has the potential to impact the industry in such a big way. The country has always been a source of knowledge for the global industry, and this is no exception.

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