BHP to explore for petroleum offshore Barbados

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Barbados’ Ministry of Energy and Water Resources has issued effective offshore exploration licences for the Carlisle Bay and Bimshire blocks to BHP, said the island’s Government Information Service.

The news bulletin issued on Wednesday, quoted Minister of Energy and Water Resources, Wilfred Abrahams, as saying: “While the Government of Barbados is aggressively pursuing renewable and alternative energy initiatives, it also recognizes the importance of diversifying the island’s energy portfolio to include offshore oil and gas development.

He said that with prudent management, Barbados’ offshore oil and gas sector can offer significant opportunities for the Barbadian people, not only in terms of revenue generation but also in relation to institutional strengthening, capacity building, job creation and technological advancement.  “This has been a long time in coming, and the Government is eager for BHP to get started,” he said.

The bulletin said the issuance of the effective licences marks the culmination of thorough negotiations between the two parties “and grants BHP the exclusive rights to explore for petroleum and undertake appraisal activities in the licence areas.” It said the Carlisle Bay and Bimshire blocks are located between 40 km to 140 km southeast of Barbados, collectively totalling approximately 5,000 km2, and are generally located in waters ranging from 1,200 to 2,000 metres in depth.

“Pursuant to the issuance of the effective licences, BHP will commence the first three-year licence phase, which includes conducting 2D seismic surveys on the two exploration blocks.  With favourable results, BHP may enter an optional second phase of three years to perform 3D seismic surveys and other geological studies, followed by an optional third phase of two years, to drill at least one exploration well in each block.” The bulletin said.

BHP Petroleum Vice President of Exploration and Appraisal, Sonia Scarselli, is quoted as saying: “We look forward to continuing our relationship with the Barbados Government as we commence the next phase of our work in Barbadian waters … this opportunity leverages our offshore exploration expertise, and we are optimistic about our chances of discovering hydrocarbons within these blocks.”

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