A second company has expressed an interest in bidding for a licence to explore for oil and gas off the shores of Barbados which, according to the firm, could earn this country at least one billion dollars in tax revenue annually.
With a new bidding campaign expected to start by the end of April, Bajan Hydrocarbons Inc. (BHI), a Barbados-based, privately-owned, regional company, is hoping to join BHP Billiton, an Anglo-Australian multinational mining, metals and petroleum firm, in bidding for a licence.
“We have not yet entered into any discussions with any other petroleum company, other than BHP Billiton, for a licence to conduct oil and gas exploration offshore,” a senior official in the Ministry of Energy told Barbados TODAY this afternoon.
“We know that Bajan Hydrocarbons has expressed an interest . . . Within another month, a new bid round will start and they [Bajan Hydrocarbons] will have an opportunity to bid,” the official added.
The last bid round was in 2007.
Speaking to Barbados TODAY by phone from Britain, chief executive officer and founding director of Bajan Hydrocarbons Inc., Robin Birchall, was optimistic his company would get the nod.
“We are in very fruitful discussions with the authorities on oil and gas matters in the Government of Barbados and we are progressing as best as we can. We look forward very much to the possibility of being awarded some offshore licences,” he commented.
Birchall added: “We are very excited about the opportunity . . . the potential there in Barbados; we have done a fair amount of technical work.”
He is certain there is potentially significant amounts of oil and gas off the shores of this country and production in the longer term on-shore itself.
Birchall said while he was optimistic of getting licences, the decision still rested with the Ministry of Energy to determine if Bajan Hydrocarbons was fit to do the job.
“We are very confident, given our track record and history and our skills base.”
The businessman, who is also executive chairman of Silver Bear Resources and director of Vast Exploration Inc., revealed that anyone who makes a discovery off Barbados and starts production, could end up contributing at least 50 per cent of its tax revenue.
“The economic outlook for the country would change because the international borrowing rates would come way down with the potential for oil and gas production. We have done some analysis that we have shared all the way to the top in Barbados….[and] the amount of taxes one would pay on such discovery, you’re talking billions of dollars,” he pointed out.
“Whoever makes a discovery,” Birchall added, “and we are absolutely certain there will be discoveries made in the next ten years so long as the licence s are awarded to whoever, and work is done, you could be talking $600 million to a billion US dollars in taxes a year.”
He said Barbados would definitely become a net exporter of oil and gas “and you would be the envy of the Caribbean”.
Birchall told Barbados TODAY one proper discovery would also supply this country’s domestic consumption requirement of 10,000 barrels of oil per day, five times over, and would be a huge foreign exchange earner as well.
The company, which boasts of international investors, is also involved in onshore business in Barbados. According to a presentation document dated March 3, 2014, BHI will establish a joint venture company with the Barbados National Oil Company Limited to seek to increase onshore oil and gas production by at least 50 per cent.
The document entitled Business Overview, stated that BHI would make an investment in excess of US$10 million in the first three years and will partner with BNOCL in the exploration of the Government-reserved offshore Oistins block, “with a firm and contingent budget of more than US$73 million in the first three years”.