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Oil deal on the horizon

Plans for offshore oil exploration in Barbados look set to move a step closer to reality.

Prime Minister Freundel Stuart announced over the weekend that he will give the go-ahead this week to an Australian oil exploration company, BHP Billiton, to map reserves of oil and natural gas within the island’s territorial waters.

Stuart told a ruling Democratic Labour Party (DLP) event that he will sign an agreement permitting the company to begin exploration offshore where he said there were ‘impressive’ deposits of fossil fuel based on seismic data.

Offshore oil exploration is one aspect of a two-pronged approach by Government to meeting the island’s future energy needs with oil and renewable energy.

Prime Minister Freundel Stuart

Prime Minister Freundel Stuart

“We hope that by the year 2029, that 29 per cent of our electricity generation will be from renewable sources,” he told a joint meeting of the DLP’s St Michael South, St Michael South-East, and City branches at the Springer Memorial School.

Speaking of Government’s plan for a ‘judicious mix’ of fossil fuel and renewable energy going forward, Stuart said: “since, in addition to relying on renewable sources of energy, we’re not giving up our fossil fuel capabilities, sometime this week I have to sit and sign an agreement with an oil company which has been awarded blocks in our offshore jurisdiction…”

Barbados Government officials have been talking for some time about oil exploration with BHP Billiton.

The exploration deal was made possible through two pieces of legislation, The Offshore Petroleum Taxation Act, 2001, and The Offshore Petroleum Act 2007 passed by the Owen Arthur-led former Barbados Labour Party (BLP) administration.

Subsequently, Billiton’s bid to explore was approved over Windward (Barbados) Exploration and Jupiter Petroleum.

Government and the Australian firm initialed a licence to explore in 2014, with Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler promising a public signing of the agreement in 2015.

Stuart also told DLP faithful Sunday night that the Government’s energy policy promoting a mix of renewable energy and fossil fuel use “should put us in a position where Barbados can be more economically viable.”

He again spoke about the “creation of a Barbados that is socially balanced, economically viable, environmentally sound, and characterized by good and sound government”, the DLP’s mantra in the 2013 general election.

He said in pursuit of this goal, a major challenge had been the cost of energy.

“Because we have had to import oil at those stubborn and difficult prices, we’ve not been able to some of the things we wanted to do,” he said. “So we’ve now put in place legislation, the whole object of which, is to reduce our dependence on fossil fuel use for the generation of energy.”

9 Responses to Oil deal on the horizon

  1. Tony Webster April 22, 2015 at 8:29 am

    Déjà Vu? I seem to recall one Ms. Liz Thompson -and even her predecessors- undertaking some rather expensive off-shore seismic investigations…just about the time when the world’s oil giants…were to have beaten a path to our door? And according to Liz…there was a Rick of an epidemic of ” Bajan oil-millionaires”! Whatever happened to previous seismic surveys?
    With oil at current prices..and the outlook yet well-below what it would cost to lift a barrel from relatively very deep waters such as ours….I smell oil (sorry) elections…in the air.

  2. jr smith April 22, 2015 at 11:41 am

    Mr,Priminister, please stop living in land, Barbados seems to be the only island/country holding on to this farce about renewable energy in this region. It doesn’t matter ,oil brings wealth , providing, it doesn’t bring with it ,political corruption. In the north American basin there is a lot of oil wealth, but no shouting of renewable energy, Barbados have no money, the US is not bothered, they are ( FRACKING) big time, oil and gas, which has brought down the dependency of imported fuels and home market prices. the UK ,has just discovered, trillions of barrels of oil in an area, near to Gatwick airport, do you think they would give that up no thank you. This farce about renewable energy, come with political corporate corruption, and is there for the corporates to make money. its a dangerous game..

  3. Andrew The Voice April 22, 2015 at 1:13 pm

    They really need to get it on, Money is needed in this country NOW, if we can reduce the import bill, and still maintain a healthy environment I say bring it on.
    Y’all have to be careful with the greed associated with oil money.

  4. Nixon Mitchell
    Nixon Mitchell April 22, 2015 at 4:57 pm

    Oil importance car business can ran

  5. Michael Ess
    Michael Ess April 22, 2015 at 8:14 pm

    More money to line the pockets of those pilfering dogs we call “leaders”.

  6. Sebastian Da Costa
    Sebastian Da Costa April 22, 2015 at 8:28 pm

    29% by 2029 that must be his 29/29 plan

  7. Malcolm Roger Thompson
    Malcolm Roger Thompson April 22, 2015 at 8:35 pm

    Sounds like the PRESIDENT of the REPUBLIC (fumble) has been smoking that cheap Jamaican weed again.

  8. Tony Waterman April 23, 2015 at 1:51 am

    What they have to do is to find the Reports done in the late 40’s by the American Oil Co., now defunct, but it reputed to have the position on the ocean bed off Barbados where they Capped the oil vein, because it it the main that led to T&T, and it made no sense at that time to bring B’dos on stream, because all the infastructure was already in place in T&T, at Point Fortin.
    this is not the time to be meddling with oil, as there is no money in it, the Tar sands in Calgary is nearly at a standstill, and Thousands of workers are out of work, so why now ? One oil spill and “Boom” the Tourist industry is dead in the water, what then ?


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