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Agreement clears way for oil exploration off Barbados

SHAWN CUMBERBATCH, [email protected]

Agreement clears way for oil exploration off Barbados

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GOVERNMENT HAS SIGNED two licences with BHP Billiton, clearing the way for the Australian oil giant to explore for oil and gas offshore Barbados.

Prime Minister Freundel Stuart and BHP Billiton Petroleum vice president, exploration, Dr Niall McCormack signed the agreements this morning during a ceremony at Government Headquarters, Bay Street.

Stuart said this latest step would “send a clear message to the industry that Barbados is opening for business and is serious about the development of its offshore petroleum sector”.

He added that Barbadians “stand to reap early benefits on executive of the licences through the negotiated provisions for annual training, scholarships, local content, coastal and marine environment research and the acquisition of critical equipment and software”.

BHP Billiton’s licences are for the Carlise Bay and Bimshire blocks, which are located approximately 40 kilometres south east of Barbados. They cover 5 000 square kilometres and are located in waters ranging from 1 200 to 2 000 meters deep.

McCormack said based on what his organisation knew about the geological trend in the area “we are optimistic about our chances of discovering hydrocarbons within these blocks”.

Now that it has been licensed, BHP Billiton has to get Government’s approval of an environmental impact assessment and environmental plan to start the first phase of its work, which is a 2D seismic survey on the two exploration blocks. (SC)