Oil Exploration Not A Priority

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Prime Minister David Thompson??briefing the media at hte press conference. At right is IADB Representatative in Barbados, Anneke Jessen.

Government will continue its oil exploration project, but Barbados must be prudent about the areas in which it speculates for business returns. The present focus is therefore, on some short- term initiatives that must be undertaken to stabilise existing enterprises and businesses in Barbados, and, at the same time, attract new investment.

Prime Minister David Thompson made this disclosure recently, as he announced the Inter-American Development Bank’s (IADB) $400 million Country Strategy with Barbados for 2009-2013, which includes energy as a priority sector.

"Oil exploration is always market driven and when oil prices are high, it is more attractive for a destination like Barbados, for people to explore and drill oil. There is a threshold that would kick in that would make Barbados an attractive place to drill oil. If oil prices then come down, it may not be as attractive a proposition," Mr. Thompson observed.

Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance, Senator Darcy Boyce, noted that Government continued to work with one oil company in terms of negotiations for a licence.

"We are looking at ways to get other persons interested, but there are driven by the cost of oil, the cost of finance, the availability of capital for these ventures and by the quality of the fields that are found … There have been some very substantial finds offshore Brazil and so on in the last year and a half," he explained.

Senator Boyce stressed that with respect to Barbados, some surveys had been done, but, he added, "we have to do additional surveys to be able to prove the extent and the nature of the reserves and how you will get those reserves".

Earlier this year, Government announced that it had granted its first oil and gas offshore licence for two blocks, Carlisle Bay and Bimshire, to oil, gas and mineral exploration company, BHP Billiton.

gapplewhaite@barbados.gov.bb

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