Barbados to start exploration for petroleum resources offshore next year

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Barbados to start exploration for petroleum resources offshore next year

(CMC) – Barbados will begin exploration for potential offshore petroleum resources next year, Minister with responsibility for Energy, Darcy Boyce, has said.

Boyce, speaking at a regional symposium on Strengthening CARICOM Energy Collaboration in Trinidad and Tobago last week, said that Barbados had successfully negotiated exploration licences for two blocks with the Australian-based BHP Billiton and had awarded another block to the Spanish-based Repsol.

“BHP Billiton is now in the final stages of the EIA (Energy Information Administration) process, and once complete, we expect exploration to begin within the next year.”

Boyce, noting that Barbados had substantial offshore petroleum acreage comprising more than 70 000 square kilometres, said that going forward, it was the intention of the Energy Division to continue to market the island’s offshore acreage internationally, with the hope of generating more investment and exploration opportunities.

He said in consideration of the industry’s renewed interest in offshore deep-water exploration, particularly within the Caribbean region, it was Barbados’ intention to restart its licensing efforts within the next year.

He gave the assurance that as a tourist oriented country, great care was being taken in the pursuit of this initiative, in order to ensure the preservation and protection of the coastal and marine environment.

“We have established a robust regulatory regime in terms of our offshore petroleum legislation and will continue to ensure that we learn from the experiences of other jurisdictions, and explore opportunities for developing stronger partnerships with our regional counterparts,” Boyce said.

He said it was therefore necessary to strengthen collaboration with both the established and emerging offshore oil and gas jurisdictions within the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), describing this as a critical step in charting a successful energy future.

“The region is fast becoming a hotbed of activity due to its promising and largely untapped offshore petroleum potential and it is therefore imperative that we work closely together in building capacity and developing a collective resilience,” he said.

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