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The Republic of Trinidad & Tobago consists of the two southernmost islands in the Caribbean archipelago. The country lies just off the northeastern shoulder of Venezuela, an OPEC-member country, on the South American mainland. The larger island, Trinidad, is 4,828 square kilometers (1,864 square miles). The capital, Port of Spain, is on the island of Trinidad. The island of Tobago has an area of 300 square kilometers (225 miles), with Scarborough as its main civic center.The Economy
The economy of Trinidad & Tobago is very stable, and the country has earned a "most favored nation" status with the United States. It is considered a "safe" place to invest by the U.S. State Department, and has earned an investment grade credit rating from Standard & Poor's. The USA is the country's major trading partner, accounting for 57 percent of its exports, and 41 percent of its imports.
To move quickly into the mainstream western economy, the present day government of Trinidad incorporated privatization laws into its constitution, and adopted business contract laws that mirror those in Great Britain and the United States of America.
Trinidad & Tobago has a long history of industry. Sugar and rum were early commodities. Since 1908 petroleum exploration, production and refining have been a mainstay of the economy. Light manufacturing and assembly followed in 1950, and petro-chemical production began in the 1960's.
The nation's manufacturing activities include production of ammonia, methanol, urea, iron, steel and cement. The light manufacturing sector includes a wide range of goods such as nails, garments, household appliances, processed food, adhesive and cosmetics.
Tourism also accounts for a large part of the country's income.Oil Production & Refining
Trinidad is a significant producer of oil and natural gas. Oil was first discovered in Fyzabad, a southern district, in the late 1800's. The southern section of the island is considered synonymous with oil production.
Traditionally, oil refining in the country was centered around two major refineries, originally owned and operated by Texaco at Pointe-a-Pierre, and Shell at Point Fortin.
In 1974 the Republic of Trinidad & Tobago purchased Texaco's refinery. At that time, only 65,000 barrels of local crude were available for the refinery. Since 1988 the local refinery has imported crude to improve the economics of the industry and utilize the excess refinery capacity. Recently the government negotiated two contracts with Venezuela to process crude at both refineries.
The Pointe-a-Pierre refinery has now been upgraded and retrofitted with new technology, enabling it to produce a higher quality product, which meets the specifications demanded by USA and European markets. The modernized facility can process 160,000 barrels of oil per day. Because the refinery imports 36 percent of its oil to maximize throughput, local crude is in high demand.The People
Trinidad enjoys the most cosmopolitan mix in the Caribbean. At last census count, the population was 1,332,950. Descendents of African and Indian origin comprise 80 percent of the population. The remainder is divided among people of mixed races and persons of European, Chinese, Syrian and Lebanese descent. The Europeans who reside in the country are chiefly of British, French, Spanish and Portuguese origin.
The people enjoy freedom to worship under the Constitution of the Republic. Principal religions are Roman Catholic, Hindu, Anglican and Muslim.
English is the official language of the country. Trinidad & Tobago has one of the highest literacy rates in the world, with an adult literacy rate of 96 percent.The Government
Formerly a British Colony, the country of Trinidad and Tobago became self-governing in 1956, and gained independence on August 31, 1962. On August 1, 1976, the country became the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, and remains within the Commonwealth of Nations.
Under the Constitution, legislative power is vested in the Parliament, which consists of the President, the Senate and House of Representatives. Elections are held at least every five years. The country has a long tradition of democracy. Since independence, elections have been held as required by the Constitution.
Judicial power is vested in the Supreme Court, which consists of the High Court of Justice and the Court of Appeals.The Weather
Trinidad is cooled by Northeast Trade Winds. Located at 10 degrees 30 minutes N and 61 degrees 30 minutes W it lies virtually out of the hurricane alley. Temperatures range from 21 degrees C. to 32 degrees C. year-round.
Frequently Asked Questions
-- What is oil?
-- Where does oil come from?
-- How long has oil been used by humans?
-- When was drilling first used to produce oil?
-- How does drilling or producing actually happen?
-- What happens at a refinery?
-- What does a refinery make out of a barrel of oil?
Petroleum, another word for crude oil, can be broken into two parts. "Petro" means rock, and "leum" means oil. Petroleum consists primarily of bonded hydrogen and carbon atoms.Where does oil come from?
Oil comes from deposits of decayed plants and animals, formed millions of years ago. Those layers of material eventually mix with sand and mud. The mud changes from sand to stone. And with increased heat and pressure, petroleum was eventually formed from the dead plants and animals. Then reservoirs of oil were formed in porous rock chambers. Today we find oil on top of the ground in lakes and natural seeps in many parts of the world. But to produce commercial quantities, we have to drill for oil.How long has oil been used by humans?
Medicinal ointments made with oil date to pre-Columbian times, and were a part of healing rituals. Ancient Persians used oil for medicinal purposes. Egyptians used oil for embalming their loved ones. And the first oil exported from Venezuela in 1539 was shipped to the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V, for treating gout.
Around 4,000 B.C., petroleum was used to caulk ships, and was also used as a glue to secure weapons, jewelry and mosaic settings. The walls of Babylon and pyramids were held together with this black "glue." And in North America, the Iroquois and Senecas used crude oil for body paint and ceremonial fires. Alaska Natives were able to simply break off chunks of oil-saturated rock lying on the tundra, and use it as a fuel. By the early 1800's natural oil seeps were used to replace the whale oil used to light homes, and energy transformation had begun.When was drilling first used to produce oil?
The first oil well in Trinidad, 280 vertical feet, was drilled in 1857, near Pitch Lake. Two years later, the first successful well in the U.S.A. was drilled. That well was 69 feet deep, and the "black gold" produced from that well sold for $20 per barrel.How does drilling or producing actually happen?
Drilling is accomplished with a drilling rig. A drill bit at the end of pipe turns to create the opening, and drilling "mud" cools the drill bit during the entire process. Drilling mud also helps maintain pressure, and assists in bringing little chips of rock (called cuttings) back up to the surface.
When drilling begins, a "blow-out preventer" is put in place, so that we can close the pipe in an emergency. And a well casing is put down the hole to prevent any contamination of underground fresh water.
Most of the time, oil is trapped in rock or sand underneath the ground. Frequently, an enhanced oil recovery method is used to help free the oil so it can be produced. Water or steam is often put into the ground to release the oil from the rock, and push it towards the well. Sometimes we even use a sand-like substance to open channels through the underground rock. Chemicals are often added to a reservoir, to bind together with the oil and "wash" it off the rock, allowing it to flow more easily towards the producing well.
Sometimes underground gas and water really increase the pressure on the oil in the earth, and that pressure may help force the oil to the surface. When the underground pressure is not enough to make the oil flow to the surface naturally, a pumping unit slowly brings the oil up.
Pipes and valves control the flow of oil out of the ground, and into pipelines. Pipelines in the oil field carry the produced fluids to refineries. Because of this, many people in the oil industry have never seen crude oil! The crude simply goes from the well to pipelines, so it is not visible to us.What happens at a refinery?
Depending on the formations underneath an oil field, wells produce a mixture of oil, gas and water. Those products are separated and handled separately.
Refineries use tall towers to refine crude. When the oil is heated, vapors form and rise up through these special towers. At various levels in the tower, different hydrocarbons condense, and are drawn off for additional processing. Impurities are removed to improve the products.
The lightest vapors float up to the top of the tower, where they condense back to liquids, and are drawn off. These are used to produce different types of gasoline.
Around the middle part of the tower, we get medium weight liquids that make kerosene, diesel and heating oil. In the lower part of the tower, we get heavier liquids, called gas oils. These liquids are used to make lubricating oil.
The heaviest fractions, frequently called sludge, stay at the bottom of the tower. These fractions are used to make asphalt. So the oil creates the fuel that powers our cars, and also supplies material to create the highways we drive on.
The various components from the oil are then sent to different parts of the refinery for additional processing.What does a refinery make out of a barrel of oil?
A barrel of oil is equivalent to 42 U.S. gallons. The type of oil varies from field to field, but on average, this is what we get out of each barrel:
Gasoline: 18 gallons
Kerosene, Light Fuel Oil: 10 gallons
Residual Fuel Oil: 5 gallons
Jet Fuel: 3 gallons
Lubricating Oil, Asphalt, Wax: 2 gallons
Chemicals for Use in Manufacturing (petrochemicals): 2 gallons
Other: 2 gallons
Petrochemicals are used as a raw material for over 6,000 everyday products, from perfumes, deodorant and toothpaste, to antiseptics and plastics, compact discs, contact lenses and roofing materials.
Of course, oil is used to fuel cars, trains and planes. It provides heat for our homes, schools and offices. Oil powers many electrical generators and provides lubrication to make machines run safely and smoothly.Statistics by U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Energy Information Administration & the American Petroleum Institute Courtesy of New Horizon Exploration, Inc.
The Republic of Trinidad & Tobago is a beautiful and special country. Consisting of the two most southerly islands in the Caribbean archipelago, the country offers tremendous natural beauty. The culture of this society is rich with ethnic influences from every continent. In addition to the wealth of "black gold," this Republic boasts wildlife and flora that is lush and varied. These elements, oil and nature, have co-existed since time began in this Caribbean nation.
Oil has had many uses in this country. Amerindians, natives of Trinidad, used the natural oil seeps throughout the island long before the industrial revolution. By the late 1500's, pitch, or heavy oil, was used to patch Sir Walter Raleigh’s sea-faring vessels. The British and others mined the pitch from the huge lake of heavy oil, Pitch Lake. This lake is over 300 feet deep and covers over 100 acres. This pitch paved the streets of London and many others around the world. It is estimated that hundreds of millions of tons have been mined from the lake and it has dropped the surface level only 30 feet. The large reserves of heavy crude beneath the surface continually replenish the lake. Some natives in the area believe that the lake may eventually overflow its banks, spilling its oil into the sea as it has done in the past.
Pitch Lake is just one example of the reliance this Caribbean nation has on this bountiful element of the earth. Drilling for oil in Trinidad began in 1857, before the first well was drilled in America. The first well on the island went down 280 feet in an area near Pitch Lake. Of course, successful producing oil fields still exist throughout Trinidad.
The rich tapestry of culture in this country is matched by the lush tropical growth on the islands of Trinidad & Tobago. Trees include cedar, mahogany and cypre. Over 2,100 species of flowering plants thrive in this paradise, and it is believed that over 100 species of mammals co-exist in the nation, including deer, lappe and wild fowl. Marine inhabitants include kingfish, salmon, shark, shrimp and lobster. Dense forests abound, including swamp forests, seasonal forests, rain forests and palm marsh forests.
Natives of the area know that nature in their country has incredible power to rejuvenate itself and reclaim any disturbed area. Roads no longer in use become hidden from view in the sultry climate. Thick vegetation swiftly takes over. In many areas of the world, land disturbed by man has to be rehabilitated and revegetated, but in this paradise, nature facilitates this process in many instances. This, and the careful work of companies that produce oil in Trinidad, reduce to a minimum the biological consequences of industry.
New Horizon is proud to be associated with this beautiful, scenic nation, and welcomes the opportunity to work with the people of Trinidad & Tobago, to meet their needs and assist in producing their bountiful energy reserves. A small, independent oil company, we are proud to have been chosen by this nation to help produce their natural resources, and share in the beauty of the country.