Jamaica to Offer Offshore, Onshore Areas in Round 2

Jamaica's government plans to open up additional offshore and onshore acreage in a second oil and gas licensing round following the first round in 2005, Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ) said in a statement.

As a result, PCJ has organized a presentation in Houston, Texas, on January 31 to outline details of the second round.

Session topics will cover the current acreage position, terms and conditions, and new seismic and gradiometer data. Data packs will be available for US$55,000.

TERMS & CONDITIONS

Contracts would entail five-year exploration and 20-year production periods, with an optional 10-year production extension. The maximum income tax rate would be 33.3% and/or a possible tax exemption for a number of years.

Excess gas could go to create methanol, fertilizer, urea or LNG, among other products.

ATTRACTIVE FACTORS

According to the government, attractive factors include low entry costs, well locations in shallow-to-moderate water depths, a relinquishment option at the end of each concession period and proximity to the Gulf of Mexico and other US markets.

Of Jamaica's 20 offshore and four onshore blocks - each 2,500 sq km - eight offshore blocks are under license. Australian company Finder Exploration holds five blocks and Canada's Rainville Energy three.

The Caribbean country's industry, technology, energy and commerce minister Phillip Paulwell in August said Brazil's federal energy company Petrobras (NYSE: PBR) was examining the remaining blocks.

E&P UPDATE

Norwegian company Fugro from February-May this year conducted an offshore seismic survey of Finder's blocks, according to PCJ's website. More than 6000km of line data was collected and is being processed.

Finder also begun an aeromagnetic and gravity survey of its offshore area aimed at identifying possible areas for further attention.

For its part, Rainville is in the seismic survey stage.

To date no commercial reserves of oil and gas have been found in Jamaican territory, although oil and gas shows occurred in 10 wells, PCJ said.

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