Government has taken all the necessary steps to ensure that offshore oil and gas exploration and production activities are carried out with the highest industry standards.
This assurance has come from Attorney General, Adriel Brathwaite, as he delivered the closing remarks during the Improved Access to Justice in the Caribbean (IMPACT) Training and Competency Development Course in Oil and Gas in CARICOM, at the Accra Beach Resort and Spa on Wednesday.
Noting that there were significant opportunities ahead, Mr. Brathwaite stressed that with prudent management, national offshore petroleum programmes had the capacity to generate significant investment and revenue for CARICOM.
But, he stressed governments still expected nothing short of the highest commitment to the preservation and protection of their coastal and marine environment, and to the communities in which the companies operated.
???Local stakeholders have begun to formulate a comprehensive long-term petroleum development strategy that will inform Barbados??? future offshore policies,??? Mr. Brathwaite said.
As a result, key areas of focus will include local content; analysis of the global and regional competitive environment; the establishment of a Petroleum Heritage Stabilisation Fund and a Decommissioning Fund; Environmental Impact Assessments; institutional strengthening; refinement of the legislative and regulatory framework; data management; monitoring and enforcement; and the provision of local goods and services.
Furthermore, Mr. Brathwaite pointed out that the infrastructure was laid to ensure that Barbados could transition from being a net importer of fossil fuels to being a net exporter in the event that commercial quantities of hydrocarbons were discovered offshore Barbados.
???It is our aim to ensure that this transition occurs in a manner that is efficient, transparent, sustainable and free from reproach, keeping in line with the Barbadian ethos and way of conducting business,??? he added.
Acknowledging that there was limited knowledge in Barbados and throughout the rest of CARICOM in this area, the Attorney General said it was necessary to get assistance from foreign governments whose performance in the sector represented best practices, and to review oil and gas practices that were not ideal.
In was in this light that Mr. Brathwaite said the course was timely, as it provided necessary training for persons in Barbados and the region, as they sought to explore opportunities in the oil and gas sectors.