PCJ Extends Round 2 Proposal Deadline to July

State-run Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ) has extended to July 15 the deadline to submit proposals to explore offshore and onshore areas in a second oil and gas-licensing round, PCJ special projects director Raymond Wright told BNamericas.

The onshore blocks are Negril (2,856 km2), Windsor (2,446 km2), Portland (4,309 km2) and Santa Cruz (1,416 km2). The offshore areas range from 1,924-26,780 km2 for a total of 104,262 km2.

This round does not entail a formal bidding process but only the submission of informal bids. The previous deadline was June 1.

The deadline was extended to give companies that recently purchased data packages more time to prepare proposals, Wright said.

Although the names of companies that purchased packages were not disclosed, the industry, technology, energy and commerce ministry has reported Anglo-Dutch Shell (NYSE: RDS-B), Brazil's federal energy company Petrobras (NYSE: PBR) and US firm Murphy Oil have expressed interest.

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%, although there could be an exemption for a number of years.

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

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.

Australian company Finder Exploration and Canada's Rainville Energy in 2005 picked up five and three offshore Jamaican blocks respectively that cover 23,193 km2 in total.

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