Energy play

Barbados pursuing new opportuniites in lucrative oil sector

Barbados is seeking to own a piece of the Trinidad and Tobago oil and gas industry.

At the same time, officials have revealed that commercial quantities of the precious commodity have been detected offshore, to the north and south of the island.

Manager of the Barbados National Oil Company (BNOC) Winton Gibbs told Barbados TODAY negotiations were still in the early stages with Petrotrin, the national oil company of the twin island republic, with a view to reworking some of the existing oil wells there and possibly drilling new ones.

Winton Gibbs
Winton Gibbs

“We are speaking to Petrotrin. We are speaking to some partners in Trinidad to work some fields owned by Petrotrin, but these are early days. We have not agreed on anything as yet. We are not entirely happy with what is on the table, so we are still in the very early stage, and we are trying to get a better deal than what is presently on the table,” Gibbs explained.

“We want to rework some of the existing wells in Trinidad and possibly drill a couple new wells. The idea is to own oil and gas reserves outside of Barbados,” the BNOC manager informed this newspaper.

He said such a move would help boost this country’s foreign exchange and hopefully reduce the cost of imported fossil fuels.

Although Gibbs made it clear his company was not responsible for the local offshore oil exploration programme being pursued by Government, he said he was also aware of recent reports of substantial commercial reserves in Barbados’ waters.

“The geologists are of the view that there are substantial commercial quantities of oil and gas offshore. There are different blocks and they seem to be mainly towards the south of Barbados, but there are also blocks towards the north that seem to have substantial reserves. But I am not an authority on that,” he pointed out.

Gibbs did say, however, that what the geologists had found would put Barbados in a position to export oil.

“The quantities are in excess of Barbados’ requirements. There would be export potential there,” the National Oil Company boss added.

Nevertheless, he told Barbados TODAY that the time between exploration and production of such a find was a long process.

“I could see anywhere between eight to 10 years is the time frame that we would be looking at,” he explained.

While not speaking on behalf of the Division of Telecommunications and Energy, Gibbs said as far as he was aware, Government was in the final stages of negotiations with BHP Billiton, an Anglo-Australian multinational mining, metals and petroleum company headquartered in Melbourne.

“Barbados National Oil’s role there will be to manage the Government’s interests in that operation,” he said.

When contacted, acting Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Division of Energy Francine Blackman was much more guarded even though she acknowledged that Barbados had been negotiating with BHP Billiton since 2008 and had awarded that oil company two offshore blocks.

However, Blackman made it clear that discussions were still ongoing regarding an exploration licence.

She said that apart from BHP Billiton, it has not been in discussion with any other entity, either to conduct offshore research or exploration.

“The Ministry or the Government of Barbados, as I know, has not hired anybody to undertake any research that would confirm or not confirm that type of information that you have just suggested. Even if somebody says that they sent something to us, anybody can say they sent anything. . . But that will still have to be verified whether or not the information presented is credible,” the acting deputy PS stated.


2 Responses to Energy play

  1. Tony Waterman August 28, 2014 at 2:53 pm

    Will Someone/Anyone Please tell me that this Manager of the Barbados National Oil Company (BNOC) Winton Gibbs is pulling our Legs, he is going to Spend our Tax Payers Money REWORKING some of the existing wells (Probably already Maxed out) in Trinidad and possibly drilling a couple new wells. (Costing Millions) what happen to all the money that T&T has to spend on drilling their own wells, we are going to be taken for ANOTHER RIDE by our WILY Neighbours
    When i was a wee Lad, i believe and am subject to correction on the name of the Company,that it was AAMACO who was drilling offshore in Barbados (Late 40’s) and at that time it was ALLEGED that COMMERCIAL Amounts of Oil were found then, but that if it was exploited it would have affected the supply to T&T and therefore the wells were CAPPED (Remember ALLEGED)
    Tell Me Something!!! Does ANYONE in Barbados really thinks that T&T really wants Barbados to get into the LUCRATIVE OIL BUSINESS at That Level????? if your answer is yes, i have a couple of Acres of Great Land in the Everglades for Sale, call me

  2. Brimstone August 28, 2014 at 10:32 pm

    Tony Waterman you mad !!!!! really,,,, ya telling de truth,,, I also remember the stories and funny enough I went to work in the international oil arena after school.
    The BNOC crew have no idea about what is happening and a simple case exist as to why our natural gas and LPG ( liquified petroleum gas) should have domestic issues.
    I also remember Tom Adams saying there was oil offshore and it was one of his thre priorities for the island. The highway, and sewerage were the other two.
    Maybe I am too old and the current crew too young to understand and act on these things. We have never had a favorable word on anything from Trinidad. When Grantley Adams was trying to negotiate Tobago as our dependency, Eric Williams said NO.
    You may also remember that Nigeria’s oil find was consistent with those exploratory soundings. Nigeria was subsequently developed leaving poor Barbados in the cold as usual.


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