Jamaica looking for partners in oil exploration
Jamaica is in discussions with local and foreign groups interested in participating in onshore and offshore oil
exploration. Jamaica's oil bill accounts for 24 % of the country's imports, commerce minister Phillip Paulwell said
earlier, pointing out that last year the country imported 27.1 mm barrels of oil, totalling $ 813 mm.
"We are facing a massive energy bill between now and the end of the year so we are under pressure to do everything quickly," said Conroy Watson, energy division senior director at MCST, the ministry of commerce, science and technology.
Oil imports are expected to reach $ 900 mm in 2004.
As a response to the crisis, the ministry is planning to launch a licensing round, which will be held at some time in the second half of 2005.
The type of arrangement that the ministry will offer to its potential partners is not yet defined because parties are
exploring different avenues, Watson said, adding that among possibilities could be production sharing or licensing
Information gathered from the last exploration effort that took place on the island from 1981-1982 by state oil company Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ) will be used as data to attract exploration investment.
Seismic information collected over the years has recently been re-evaluated by a group headed by UK-based company
Jebco Seismic and "all the necessary ingredients for oil and gas exploration are in place," a consultant said.
"Seismic studies have already been done and used to make a detailed information package that is circulating among interested companies," Watson said, adding that the energy ministry has been receiving a constant and ongoing flow of interest.