Exploration of Barbados’ potential offshore petroleum resources is to begin within the next year.
Speaking in Trinidad last week at a regional symposium on strengthening energy collaboration within the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Minister with responsibility for Energy Senator Darcy Boyce reported that Barbados had successfully negotiated exploration licences for two blocks within BHP Billiton and had awarded another block to 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 said.
Noting that the island had a substantial offshore petroleum acreage comprising more than 70, 000 square kilometres, the Government spokesman said that going forward, it was the intention of the Energy Division to continue to market its offshore acreage internationally, with the hope of generating more investment and exploration opportunities.
He also said Barbados intended to restart its licensing efforts within the next year given renewed interest in offshore deep-water exploration, particularly within the Caribbean region.
However, he assured that given the
country’s dependence on tourism, 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.
In this regard, he stressed the importance of strengthening collaboration with both the established and emerging offshore oil and gas jurisdictions within 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.