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Drilling for oil in St John

Chris Gollop

Drilling for oil in St John

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THE BARBADOS NATIONAL OIL COMPANY (BNOC) will be heading to St John for the first time in search of crude oil.
This was revealed by BNOC chief Winton Gibbs, who said that after completing a productive 2010-2011 oil drilling programme, the state-run company would restart the drilling programme in June with an exploratory well in Society.
Nine tried and tested wells mainly in the traditional Woodbourne, St Philip area, will be included in the ten-well programme which operations manager Gordon Worme expects to end in December.
“We are awaiting critical equipment from North America which we expect to receive by mid-May and we expect to start the new programme in early June,” Gibbs, the general manager, told the SUNDAY SUN in an exclusive interview.
He said the geological tests and economic evaluation had already been completed at?Society and “now we are ready to proceed”.
Asked if there were other new areas considered for exploratory drilling, he said there had also been tests at Flat Rock, St George, but the evaluation results indicated that Society was a more promising prospect.
The BNOC has explored 88 wells since the programme was started in the 1970s, and the average daily yield in recent years has been around 1 000 barrels.
Questioned as to if the BNOC would seek to increase its production levels in view of the present world oil crisis and rising prices on the international market, Gibbs said: “We can probably increase that level, but it would not necessarily be sustainable, and our focus is on sustainability.”
He explained as well that it was more costly to drill for oil here than most other countries, since one had to dig deeper – adding that cost to extract the commodity was also on the increase.
Crude oil produced here accounts for about 40 per cent of the fuel requirements of the Barbados Light & Power. It is processed in Trinidad and Tobago.