* Centrica to explore, develop Trinidad’s NCMA 4 block
* Trinidad and Tobago looking to boost oil, natgas output (Adds drilling plans by state-owned energy company, paragraph 4)
PORT OF SPAIN, April 18 (Reuters) - Britain’s Centrica (CNA.L) signed a production sharing contract on Monday with Trinidad and Tobago allowing the company to explore, develop and produce hydrocarbons from one of the country’s offshore blocks.
The agreement applies to the NCMA 4 block. Centrica was among several companies that offered bids last September for five blocks in shallow and average water depths in the Caribbean’s top oil and natural gas producer.
Facing falling oil and natural gas reserves, Trinidad and Tobago is hoping to boost output in its key energy sector, which represents nearly half of Trinidad’s gross domestic product.
On Monday, the state-owned integrated energy company Petrotrin said it plans to step up onshore and offshore drilling to raise production which fell to new lows over the last decade.
Ko Jacobs, manager of Centrica’s Trinidad and Tobago subsidiary, said activity at NCMA 4 ties in with the company’s development plans in another offshore area known as Block 22.
“We ... are currently examining various innovative options which would allow for the commercialization of the discoveries in a reasonable time,” Jacobs said.
Among the options are a floating liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility that would convert its gas through a smaller onshore LNG facility in Trinidad’s sister island of Tobago. The company is also looking at using the Atlantic LNG plant.
Jacobs said Centrica was encouraged by results from an exploration program it carried out last year that saw a high level of drilling success, with 11 out of its 15 operated and non-operated wells showing positive results.
“That is a success ratio of close to 75 percent,” Jacobs said, adding the company was optimistic about its outlook in Trinidad.
Reporting by Linda Hutchinson-Jafar; Editing by Kevin Gray and David Gregorio