If everything goes according to plan, a joint venture between the Barbados National Oil Company Limited (BNOC), and an American company could result in exploration for more oil and gas reserves at the Woodbourne, St. Philip, based oil company.

Director of Finance and Economic Affairs, Grantley Smith, alluded to Government’s plan to step up its oil drilling programme while addressing the National Petroleum Corporation’s (NPC) Dinner and Awards ceremony recently at Divi SouthWinds Beach Resort, St. Lawrence, Christ Church.

Though upbeat about the possibility of finding additional oil and gas reserves, he cautioned, however, that there was no guarantee that the results from the drilling programme would be meaningful.

Mr. Smith also revealed that the current meltdown in petroleum prices coupled with the collapse of the world’s financial markets had hampered government’s bid to import natural gas from Trinidad by 2011 as planned.

In outlining the benefits of the programme, he said sourcing oil from Trinidad and Tobago would provide a cleaner and relatively cheaper source of fuel for use in power generation and by other productive sectors.

“Though the technology has been improved significantly, there is still no guarantee that the results of the drilling programme would be positive. Nevertheless, the effort is being made. However, the same financial difficulties that may delay the pipeline project could affect the timing of the drilling programme,” he said.

Regarding the financial viability of the NPC, he advised the management to review its tariff structure and to expand its network to service the Corporation’s debt from the proposed project.

“The Corporation, therefore, must look at its tariff structure and fees for the provision of the service with a view to improving its financial position, while at the same time, remaining competitive vis-à-vis the substitute fuels.

“The need to earn more revenue is also vitally important as the NPC seeks to expand its network and be able to service any debt the Corporation will incur to bring gas imported from Trinidad from the landing points to its network inland. It is understood, that this pipeline infrastructure from these landing points to the internal network could cost millions of dollars,” Mr. Smith observed.

During the ceremony, several long service employees were rewarded for their dedication to the organisation.

Among the awardees who received 35 year awards were Charles Bayley, Philip Greenidge ad Merline Phipps; while Clement Pollard and Delroy Walrond got 25 year awards, and Bendford Edwards and Francine Forde received awards for 20 year service.

Lemuel Hobbs and Mark Quintyne were voted the most outstanding employees.
The NPC provides natural gas to 700 businesses and some 18 000 householders.

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