Touchstone Exploration signs deal for Ortoire gas exploration in Trinidad (TXP)

(LSE:TXP) announced after
market close on Monday
it had inked a deal for the sale of natural gas and
gas liquids produced from the Ortoire block in Trinidad and Tobago. 

The Canada-based oil
and gas explorer said it had signed a framework agreement with the National Gas
Company of Trinidad and Tobago and Heritage Petroleum Company. 

Heritage and
Touchstone are JV partners in the Ortoire block. Together the companies have
made gas discoveries in two wells, Coho and Cascadura. 

TXP shares were more
than 6% higher at 30.8p in early Tuesday trading. 

In February 2020
Touchstone raised
more than £9m
to accelerate its exploration at Ortoire, a 35,786-acre block in east
Trinidad. A month earlier bosses confirmed a “liquids-rich natural gas
” at Cascadura, with a 20 January first-stage
production test
yielding “significant pressures and natural gas volumes.”

In December last year, modelling of the Coho well supported initial production rates of up to 2,000 boe/d gross. A month later, the fully-funded business revealed that testing of the Cascadura well delivered an average flow back rate of 5,180 boe/d.

LNG pressure

Trinidad’s LNG sector
has been in trouble in recent years, with domestic production falling off a
cliff and government executives under severe pressure to develop new

The country’s economy
had boomed over the last decade due to rapid growth in LNG production and
exports to the US and beyond. 

BP (LSE:BP) and Royal Dutch Shell
(LSE:RDSB) are still majority
in all four trains of the Atlantic liquefaction facility in Point
Fortin on the island’s southwest coast. But poor drilling results reported by FTSE
giant BP at the Cannonball and Cashima fields in May 2019 heralded the
end of the dominance of the Atlantic LNG facility. BP warned at the time that
Train 1 might have to shut altogether. 

Atlantic, which sent
out its first exports in 1999, was one of the world’s largest LNG producers at
the time and played a key role in the growth of Trinidad and Tobago’s economy.
According to the World Bank, as of 2018, Trinidad and Tobago was the wealthiest
nation in the Caribbean and the third-richest by GDP per capita in the

So, results like
those achieved by Touchstone at Coho and Cascadura represent a significant
win-win situation. As a key explorer in Trinidad, and now with a government
framework contract in play for the sale of LNG, we would expect the TXP share
price to continue rising. 

Demand is slowly
recovering for oil and gas as coronavirus-induced lockdowns start to be lifted
worldwide. Prices for the commodities are starting to tick up, too. 

We have upped our 30p
target for the TXP share price to at least 40p by the end of 2020.

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