Search for hydrocarbons begins in September, Symmonds says
BHP, a leading global resources company, will conduct a seismic survey later this year off the south-east coast of the island, essentially in a search for oil and gas.
Minister of Energy, Small Business and Entrepreneurship, Kerrie Symmonds, said the survey will begin in September and will last for one month.
He said the seismic survey will be conducted in a manner that adheres to the regulations and guidelines stipulated by the government.
A number of local stakeholder agencies, ministries and organisations have already been involved in consultations with BHP in an effort to learn more about the seismic survey, ask questions and receive feedback regarding the planned operations.
A virtual public consultation on the survey will also take place on Tuesday, June 15.
Symmonds said last year, the government approved two licences for BHP to conduct hydrocarbon exploration 25 miles of the island’s south coast.
“The first stage of exploration gives BHP permission to conduct a series of seismic surveys to determine whether significant petroleum deposits exist in the two off-shore blocks,” he said, adding that the blocks are named Bimshire and Carlisle Bay.
He said that the seismic survey is not an invasive procedure and “it is merely the first part of a three-phase process than can lead to the eventual extraction of petroleum resources”.
Symmonds said the information obtained from these surveys will provide a clear idea as to the presence and possible quantities of hydrocarbon resources to be found within Barbados’ maritime space.
He said the second phase of exploration includes the gathering and analysing of additional seismic and geological data in order to determine whether further exploration is warranted.
“Should the results prove to be encouraging BHP then has the option to go forward and enter the third phase of exploration, which includes exploratory drilling,” Symmonds said.
“Throughout the duration of exploration, the Division of Energy will closely monitor, regulate and support BHP in its licence activities.
“Based on the success of exploratory drilling, BHP will then evaluate whether to advance to the next level of planning, development and investment, which will all occur under what is called the production licence.”
Symmonds said the transition from exploration to production could potentially take from five to 10 years and that such a trajectory would align with the timelines set out in Barbados National Energy Policy.
He said the policy proposes a 100 percent renewable energy and carbon neutral island state by 2030.