The goal is to launch a call for bids in the first quarter of next year, the official said.
The official said that a number of major companies, many of which already operate in the area including nearby Trinidad & Tobago, have expressed interest in the planned bidding round.
Exploratory work in 2002 was performed by US oil company Conoco and France's TotalFina, as they were known at that time, the official said.
Barbados does not have significant crude reserves, according to the US government's Energy Information Administration (EIA).
There is no offshore E&P in Barbados underway and the Barbados National Oil Company (BNOC) produces upward of 1,000b/d from onshore fields, the official said.
However, BNOC must send the crude to Trinidad & Tobago to be refined, after which it is brought back to Barbados, the official said.
The 1,000b/d represents roughly 15% of Barbados' fuel requirement; the remainder is imported, the official said.
The island country produces limited amounts of natural gas to meet local demand. Barbados will be forced to import natural gas or find alternatives to meet future consumption growth from power generation, households and the tourist industry, the EIA said.
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