National Oil Company wants more than $30 million to restart the drilling
The Barbados’ government is on the hunt for money to restart its onshore oil exploration programs.
The Mia Mottley administration wants to ramp up the country’s oil exploration to arrest a worrying decline in daily production, which is now down to 400 barrels a day from a peak of approximately 1,700.
The National Oil Company wants to quickly raise more than $30 million by year-end to restart the drilling of new wells given that not much has been done in this regard in the past five years.
Chief Executive, James Browne told Barbados Today, “We have not increased oil production recently. We would need to restart our drilling program. We are looking at over the next 12 months or so. You have to raise capital for it. It’s a problem raising the cash. So once we have raised the cash we can do it.”
Along with Guyana, Suriname and Trinidad, Barbados is the smallest of the producers in CARICOM and like Suriname, all of its production comes from onshore rather than offshore wells.
Getting some idle wells working again
Barbados has dozens of idle wells. From a total of about 240 oil and associated gas wells in the system, no more than 100 are producing any oil. Barbados usually finds small amounts of crude at between 2,000-6,000 feet.
With the future of its onshore portfolio not as bright as its southeastern neighbor Guyana at nearly 400,000 barrels daily, authorities in Barbados are looking to offshore drilling to keep the industry afloat and guarantee energy security for the Eastern Caribbean island.
The energy department and cabinet are soon to examine bids for 22 offshore blocks which have been put out to international tender last year. Barbados is confident that being in the general geographic area with oil and gas-rich Trinidad and Guyana, it should have abundant offshore oil and gas deposits.
Permit round postponed
Government recently announced a postponement of the licensing from the beginning of December to around now following lobbying from interested companies. The firms said they needed more time to evaluate 2 and 3D seismic data before making investment decisions.
This is the second time that the bidding round has been postponed. An announcement by the government explained, “based on the fact that several companies have requested additional time to evaluate the acreage and data, the government of Barbados has made the difficult decision to postpone the permit round for this short period of time.”
This being done in order to comply with those requests and to address critical made changes to the legislative and licensing frameworks that will enable the country to improve the efficiency and ease of doing business within the sector.”
Barbados had sold much of its excess daily production to Trinidad for its now shuttered Petrotrin Refinery. Energy Minister Kerrie Symmonds says the country is energized by the number of discoveries in waters off its CARICOM neighbors.
“Based on the seismic data, there is every good reason to believe that Barbados may be a missing piece in what is becoming a red zone of gas discoveries in the Caribbean and quite frankly, in the world,” he was quoted as saying recently.