Acting Prime Minister Santia Bradshaw greets with Legal Advisor at the Commonwealth Secretariat, Dr. Chilenye Nwapi (left) at the Barbados Energy Local Content Plenary Stakeholders’ Workshop, today. Looking on is Consultant with the Commonwealth Secretariat, Dr. Bede Nwete. (B. Hinds/BGIS)

Government has endorsed the recent merger of BHP and Woodside Energy, and agreed that Woodside Energy will now continue the work on the Carlisle Bay and Bimshire Blocks, which had been awarded to BHP.

Acting Prime Minister Santia Bradshaw made this disclosure today, as she delivered the feature address at the one-day Barbados Energy Local Content Plenary Stakeholders’ Workshop, at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.

Ms. Bradshaw pointed out that BHP and Woodside announced the execution of a binding share sale agreement last November, pursuant to which Woodside would acquire 100 per cent of BHP International, which is the entity holding BHP’s oil and gas portfolio.

“This agreement will result in Woodside becoming the ultimate parent company of BHP Petroleum (Carlisle Bay) Limited and BHP Petroleum (Bimshire) Limited. This transaction is regarded as what is termed ‘a change of control’ under the legislation governing the Barbados Offshore Petroleum Programme and the terms of the Exploration Licences issued to BHP International by the Government of Barbados,” the acting Prime Minister explained.

She stated that Woodside Energy has a vast range of experience across the entire oil and gas value chain, and Government has endorsed the merger.

The acting Prime Minister assured her audience: “The Ministry of Energy and Business will continue to licence Barbados’ Offshore acreage under clear rules for developers, and to increase the cultivation of data relating to the geological and geophysical conditions of the oil and gas sector.

“Additionally, the current Minister …Kerrie Symmonds must be heralded for almost every week bringing a number of papers aimed at improving the legislative and regulatory environment to enable the sector to contribute towards Barbados’ economic development in a meaningful way.”

Government, she said, has continued its work to prepare the electricity market to take more renewable energy.  She disclosed that the Ministry of Energy and Business had already completed a number of plans and studies necessary to establish the foundation for this country’s new energy policy.

Ms. Bradshaw listed some of the major studies undertaken during 2021 as the Integrated Resource Resilient Energy Plan; the Wind Energy Development Study; the Battery Storage Policy; Ocean Energy Studies, and the Electric Vehicle Pilot Study.

“Over the last three years, the Government has continued its work to transition the energy sector into one that allows its people to participate and access our natural resources in order to drive economic growth in a real and significant way,” she stated.

Stressing that the use of Local Content in the energy sector “is indispensable” to the Energy Policy 2019 – 2030, she indicated that for Barbados, it was fundamental to the attainment of socio-economic progress and sustainability.  She explained that this would entail supplying inputs to the local economy through the transfer of technology, the creation of local employment and increasing local ownership and control.  

“Local ownership and control for the Government of Barbados crystallises into the mindset that every Barbadian has a part to play in energy security, reduction in its cost, and its democratisation.  Barbadians will no longer simply be consumers, but will now have a meaningful stake in the energy sector through the provision of significant goods and services.  

“Importantly, Local Content serves as part of the Government’s overall approach to ensuring that it stands by its commitment to build on the capacity and capability of its local people and businesses.  This is applicable to both the oil and gas, as well as the renewable energy sector. Allowing Barbadians to access the economic gains afforded and to re-deploy them within the economy in a productive manner must be priority,” Ms. Bradshaw emphasised.

The Barbados Local Content energy project aims at progressively increasing access to and participation of local vendors and businesses in the energy industry value chain.  

Local content can strategically position Barbados to succeed in an internationally competitive environment in the supply of goods and services relevant to offshore oil and gas, offshore wind and other renewable energy installations.

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