The Ministry of Energy and Water Resources of the Government of Barbados is pleased to announce the issuance of the effective offshore exploration licences for the Carlisle Bay and Bimshire blocks, to BHP Petroleum (BHP).
Subsequent to the signing of the licences in April 2015, BHP submitted the mandatory Environmental Impact Assessments and Environmental Plans for approval by the Minister responsible for the Environment.
Following robust stakeholder consultations and multiple revisions of the documents to ensure that all potential concerns specific to Barbados were sufficiently addressed, the Minister responsible for the Environment formally approved BHP’s Environmental Impact Assessments and Environmental Plans, effective January 27, 2020.
The issuance of the effective licences marks the culmination of thorough negotiations between the two parties and grants BHP the exclusive rights to explore for petroleum and undertake appraisal activities in the licence areas.
The Carlisle Bay and Bimshire blocks are located between 40 km to 140 km southeast of Barbados, collectively total approximately 5,000 km2 in area and are generally located in waters ranging from 1,200 m to 2,000 m in depth.
Pursuant to the issuance of the effective licences, BHP will commence the first three-year licence phase, which includes conducting 2D seismic surveys on the two exploration blocks. With favourable results, BHP may enter an optional second phase of three years to perform 3D seismic surveys and other geological studies, followed by an optional third phase of two years, to drill at least one exploration well in each block.
The Hon. Wilfred Abrahams, Minister of Energy and Water Resources welcomes the commencement of BHP’s offshore exploration activities and is cognisant that this milestone represents a critical step in Barbados’ efforts to realise its offshore petroleum potential.
He notes that “While the Government of Barbados is aggressively pursuing renewable and alternative energy initiatives, it also recognises the importance of diversifying the island’s energy portfolio to include offshore oil and gas development. With prudent management, Barbados’ offshore oil and gas sector can offer significant opportunities for the Barbadian people, not only in terms of revenue generation, but also in relation to institutional strengthening, capacity building, job creation and technological advancement. This has been a long time in coming and the Government is eager for BHP to get started”.
“We look forward to continuing our relationship with the Barbados Government as we commence the next phase of our work in Barbadian waters,” said Sonia Scarselli, Vice President of Exploration and Appraisal, BHP Petroleum. “This opportunity leverages our offshore exploration expertise and we are optimistic about our chances of discovering hydrocarbons within these blocks”.
At a meeting held at the 2020 Trinidad and Tobago Energy Conference in Port-of-Spain, both parties discussed mutual intentions for a transparent working relationship and the importance of prioritizing the environmental, local content and social value components of BHP’s work in Barbados.
Further information on BHP and the Ministry of Energy and Water Resources can be found at: www.bhp.com and www.energy.gov.bb, respectively.