At a time when the oil and gas industry faces scrutiny for its role in rising CO₂ emissions, energy professionals across the world are seeking solutions to mitigate the impact of climate change.
It is a complex task, but companies large and small are using innovation, technology and creativity to meet global energy demand and benefit the communities where they live and work.
One such company is DeNovo, a Trinidad and Tobago-based company focused on meeting the country’s energy needs with specific focus on the petrochemical sector.
DeNovo formed in 2016 with a mandate to increase gas supply to the Point Lisas industrial estate, located in Western Trinidad.
Port Lisas is the heart of the country’s hydrocarbon-based industry, including the downstream energy sector and a variety of manufacturing plants. Most of the facilities located there depend on natural gas produced off the east coast of Trinidad and transported by pipeline across the island.
DeNovo’s assets are off Trinidad’s west coast, in a shallow water area located 45 kilometers from Point Lisas.
DeNovo is a true Trinbagonian company, and all 52 employees are residents of Trinidad and Tobago.
Managing Director Bryan Ramsumair grew up in Chaguanas in Central Trinidad and returned to the country after receiving undergraduate and graduate degrees at the Richard Ivey School of Business in Canada. He described the DeNovo community as a tightly knit group. Most of the employees have been with the company since its founding five years ago.
“These men and women have worked collaboratively to deliver two greenfield projects. They are innovative and are finding solutions for commercial small field development that are pushing the envelope in the local upstream context,” he said. “That spirit of collaboration, pioneering and constantly pushing for new ways of doing things is what I find best about DeNovo. Our team of talented, multifaceted individuals work together to make a difference in Trinidad and Tobago using local expertise coupled with global partnerships.”
DeNovo partners include majority shareholder Proman Group, the world’s second largest methanol producer and one of the 10 leading fertilizer companies.
DeNovo currently manages two assets on the block, natural gas fields Iguana and Zandolie.
The Iguana field was discovered by Petro-Canada in 1982 and later sold to Centrica. The field remained undeveloped until it was acquired by DeNovo in 2016. Zandolie was discovered by Trinmar Limited in 1962 and appraised by Petro Canada in 2008.
DeNovo commenced its operations in 2018 with the Iguana field development, a project completed in 33 months. Ramsumair said rapid development of the Iguana field illustrates the company’s commitment to safe and efficient operations.
“Iguana operations continue to be managed with no lost time incidents (LTIs) to date and an onstream factor of 99.8 percent with 90 million standard cubic feet per day capacity,” he said.
Now the company is preparing for the Zandolie field development, a $52 million investment that will extend the life of Block 1(a) production with a first gas target in the first quarter of 2022.
Ramsumair noted that DeNovo contracted well construction, installation and commissioning contract with a Trinidadian provider and awarded the Zandolie well drilling contract to a local company.
“DeNovo’s ethos is shaped by our local focus, and our nimble delivery structure, which allow us to develop stranded resources pools,” he said. “We have built an organization with enhanced technological connectivity operating within a culture that is more collaborative, flexible and solution-oriented.”
Aidan Rajpaul, DeNovo’s production engineer, said the use of technology is a key to project success and is one of the reasons he enjoys working for the company.
“I enjoy DeNovo’s eagerness to adopt and successfully implement technology into its operations,” he said, “Such implementations range from the use of artificial intelligence for cybersecurity to the installation of specialized software which allows for the remote access to all process variables across our assets.”
Rajpaul, a four-year member of DeNovo’s team, described his role as “multifaceted.”
“Currently, I oversee production from our three Iguana gas wells in Block 1(a). My routine daily tasks include reviewing the previous day’s production figures, ensuring that the wells have been operated within their designated operating envelopes while looking out for any signs of flow assurance anomalies,” he said. “Additionally, I ensure that daily gas production is appropriately allocated to our Iguana wells and prepare production reports for regulators, our customers and our internal teams.”
Benefits to Industry and Community
Rajpaul said DeNovo is meeting its objective of supplying reliable, clean gas to the Point Lisas industrial estate.
“The current Iguana development and the future Zandolie West development contain lean, low condensate-to-gas-ratio natural gas (exceeding 90 percent methane),” he said. “The produced gas is virtually contaminant free, containing negligible concentrations of CO₂, N₂, heavy metals and sulfur compounds, which is ideal for DeNovo’s downstream receivers who use catalysts in their methanol production plants.”
Ramsumair said he is proud of DeNovo’s contributions, not only to Trinidad and Tobago’s petrochemical sector, but also to the local population.
“The gas supply situation has been tight over the last few years, and DeNovo’s addition has been a small but essential input to the petrochemical sector production in the country,” he said. “We utilize the extensive know-how and human capability that is resident in the country in our operations, as is our commitment to local content. Ultimately, the development of the country’s resources produces direct value to the government through taxation and downstream petrochemical production.”
Ramsumair said that small scale oil and gas production provides numerous opportunities to use local talent, products and materials. In addition to hiring Trinbagonian employees, DeNovo looks to local fabrication facilities to help with production.
“We demonstrated our commitment to local business support as the Iguana project execution was delivered with over 73 percent local content. We are looking to maintain this for the Zandolie development,” he said. “The Zandolie project epitomizes our goals as a truly national energy company. It is served by 100 percent local talent, it utilizes the latest and best available technology for optimum efficiencies, and it is green powered.”
The Oil and Gas Industry’s Role in Carbon Reduction
Ramsumair said the oil and gas industry can and should be a part of the energy transition.
“As an industry we need to tackle the issue to reduce our carbon footprint head-on. That means simultaneously investing in renewables, finding bigger and better ways to green what we are doing now, and accelerating extraction of remaining resources in greener ways,” he said. “In this way we can concurrently and systematically progress towards a net zero future.”
Ramsumair said DeNovo’s green focus is embedded in its operating practice.
“We are demonstrating that smaller, more local, and integrated field planning; (we) can deliver greener operations,” he said, adding that the company’s “cleaner and greener agenda” started with the Iguana field development.
“When we built the Iguana platform, we installed solar panels and moved away from the more traditional diesel generator power generation system by adopting a thermoelectric generator (TEG) system. This means that sunlight and natural gas from the wells are used to power the Iguana platform. This has significantly reduced the overall carbon footprint of our production,” he said.
DeNovo is taking its commitment one step forward with the Zandolie platform – an unmanned facility fully powered by wind and solar energy that is currently in development. Because the design requires less space for power generation equipment and fuel storage, the Zandolie platform will be smaller and lighter and will have a lower environmental footprint than the Iguana platform.
Ramsumair said the company’s local content initiative provides additional carbon footprint reduction.
“We have estimated that by utilizing the local rig on the Iguana campaign we were able to save approximately 570 tons in carbon from air travel,” he said. “With the Zandolie campaign we estimate that we will save approximately 171 metric tons in carbon from air travel.”
DeNovo is designing the Zandolie field to maximize use of Iguana’s installed infrastructure, reducing the need for additional steel. Plans also include connecting a 17-kilometer pipeline to the Iguana platform, enabling Zandolie to use spare processing capacity at Iguana, which serves as a hub.
“DeNovo has already demonstrated that its model can be used to develop fields in a cleaner and greener way by maximizing the use of local content, using technology and incorporating renewable sources to reduce carbon footprint,” Ramsumair said.
With Zandolie production set to start in early 2022, DeNovo has its sights set on the future.
Rajpaul said the team is evaluating regional 2-D and 3-D seismic data along with nearby exploration well data in the Gulf of Paria with the hope of finding previously unknown, commercial gas accumulations.
Ramsumair said he is evaluating several prospects.
“We are trying to access new pools and resources, either through capturing acreage on our own, in a joint venture with another player, or via farm-in to existing acreage,” he said.
The company also continues to investigate new strategies for carbon reduction.
“We are engaged in study to determine how we can use our reservoirs for the sequestration of CO₂ with the intention of developing a carbon storage facility,” he said. “I am confident that our knowledge of the sub-surface, and the use of the talented men and women within the sector, will continue to create innovative solutions to drive and support energy transition.”