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Jamaica moves ahead with oil and gas exploration
Published on January 14, 2016 Email To Friend    Print Version

Party Chief of the BGP Challenger seismic vessel, Yang Xiaorui (left), explains the seismic operations to Science, Technology, Energy and Mining Minister, Phillip Paulwell (centre); and State Minister in the Science, Technology, Energy and Mining Ministry, Julian Robinson. The occasion was a tour of the vessel, which docked at the Port of Kingston on January 12.

By Chad Bryan

KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) -- An offshore two-dimensional seismic survey is to be conducted by Tullow Jamaica Limited over the next 30 days to determine Jamaica’s potential for commercial oil and gas.

Tullow, a leader in independent gas and oil exploration and production, is undertaking the 3,000 sq km survey as part of the work programme outlined in the production sharing agreement (PSA) the company signed with the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ) in November 2014.

Exploratory work is to be carried out on the south coast of the island, which has been identified in the past as having good frontier for exploration.

Tullow has contracted the seismic vessel, BGP Challenger to conduct the exploration and collect the data.

Addressing the media during a tour of the technologically sophisticated seismic vessel on Tuesday at the Port of Kingston, science, technology, energy and mining minister, Phillip Paulwell, indicated that a number of works valued at US$70 million, is being undertaken by Tullow under contract.

Paulwell further indicated that US$10 million worth of work has already been done. He also used the opportunity to commend Tullow for meeting with the fisher folk and being sensitive to their concerns.

“There has to be significant sensitisation and close working relationship so that the livelihoods of the fisher folks are not affected. Everybody is going to be aware of the exact position of the vessel when it is seeking to collect…additional data,” he said.

Following the data acquisition phase of the seismic survey, a data processing period of six to nine months will take place, then data interpretation.

“A decision will then take place as to whether we go to the next phase, which will be a three-dimensional seismic programme, which will be an extensive operation, taking six to nine months to acquire,” said sustainability external affairs (SEA) manager of new venture business for Tullow Oil plc, John McKenna.

The energy ministry has been working to diversify Jamaica’s energy mix by placing greater emphasis on indigenous sources.

Finding the country’s own oil and gas will be a crucial boost to the achievement of the country’s energy independence.

The PCJ’s group general manager, Winston Watson said, “The search for oil and gas is a long-term undertaking but it is encouraging to be at this phase of the production sharing agreement with Tullow, which will help to guide us on the way forward.”

“However, even while we are executing the PSA with Tullow, the PCJ is still actively seeking additional investors for Jamaica’s remaining blocks,” he said.
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