Australia based BHP Billiton could begin its hunt for petroleum in the Caribbean territory of Barbados as early as 2019. The island’s Minister with responsibility for Energy, Senator Darcy Boyce, speaking at a symposium in Trinidad held in March, said that Barbados had successfully negotiated exploration licences for two blocks with BHP Billiton and had awarded another block to Repsol.
“BHP Billiton is now in the final stages of the EIA process, and once complete, we expect exploration to begin within the next year,” he disclosed.
Noting that Barbados had a substantial offshore petroleum acreage comprising more than 70,000 square kilometers, Senator Boyce said 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 further disclosed that, 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.
Mr. Boyce 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.
In this regard, the Energy Minister 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.