Barbados to Launch Offshore Exploration Round June 22

Barbados' energy and environment ministry plans to launch the country's offshore oil and gas exploration bidding round on June 22, a ministry official told BNamericas.

The launch will take place in capital Bridgetown with a subsequent presentation in Houston on June 27. The ministry had planned to launch the process on June 1.

The ministry will make available maps of the blocks on offer in coming days, the official said.

Bidding round draft terms along with technical details are due to be released on July 2 and a clarification session has been scheduled for July 23.

The government aims to publish bidding rules on September 3 with offers to be submitted at end-November. The goal is to award contracts in December or January.

Companies that have expressed interest include Anglo-Australian BHP Billiton (NYSE: BHP), US major ExxonMobil (NYSE: XOM), US independent Marathon Oil (NYSE: MRO), Anglo-Dutch oil company Shell (NYSE: RDS-B) and Canada's Talisman Energy (NYSE: TLM).

State oil companies including Japan's JNOC have also approached the ministry.

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. BNOC sends the crude to Trinidad & Tobago to be refined, after which it is brought back to Barbados.

The 1,000b/d represents roughly 15% of Barbados' fuel requirement, with the remainder imported.

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