Barbados Sets Conditions for Offshore Drilling

Wednesday, January 24, 2007
Any oil company wishing to tap into the oil reserves off the coast of Barbados has to comply with some strict guidelines the Government is laying down. In introducing the draft National Energy Policy to the House of Assembly, Minister of Energy and the Environment, Elizabeth Thompson, stated that a number of oil companies, including the big multinationals, smaller operations and some newcomers, had expressed an interest in getting involved in Barbados' oil industry. Thompson stated that these companies had to make sure they trained and educated Barbadians at all levels of the industry, and locals should also be given an opportunity to invest in these firms. She added that the company must also have a strong track record in environmental protection, and "must exhibit a degree of seriousness and have clout in the marketplace so they can get a drilling rig off the coast of Barbados when required". On that point, she said Barbados would have no time for companies with no intention of drilling, who purchased bid blocks and held onto them indefinitely until they could resell them on the international market. With regard to onshore drilling, the Member of Parliament for St. James South stated that Government had been mandated to explore other areas besides the Woodbourne field for energy resources. She said the equipment used to take soundings to determine whether oil was present, was not as effective on coral stone as it was on other geological structures, but it could be done and Barbados would explore its reserves using current seismic data and would try to gather further information. Source: Barbados Advocate

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