Govt, PCJ to Launch O&G Tender Round Nov. 22 in Jamaica

Jamaica's government and state oil company PCJ plan to launch the island's first ever international oil and gas exploration tender round for 26 offshore and onshore blocks on November 22, PCJ said in a statement.

Bidding rules will be available from January 1, 2005 and bids must be submitted by July 15.

The tender is for 22 offshore blocks and 4 onshore blocks, which "cover all of the Jamaican region," PCJ director Raymond Wright told BNamericas.

With the price of oil at an all-time high, and with the island currently importing 90% of its energy needs, "Jamaica intends to offer exceptionally good terms to companies to ensure that this resource is developed as speedily as possible," the statement said.

The offshore blocks are located south of the island and most of them are in shallow water but a few lie in deep water, Wright said. Seven or eight of these blocks lie in the Walton basin and 2D seismic studies indicate that possible reserves for the basin could be in the order of 2 billion barrels of oil and 10 trillion cubic feet of gas, he said, adding: "Such estimates are always theoretical." The Walton basin is reported to be geologically similar to the Malampaya gas field in the Philippines or the tertiary petroleum systems of Java and Sumatra, Nick Cameron, project geologist at British consulting firm Jebco Seismic, was quoted as saying in the statement.

To date, 53 structures have been identified offshore in "modest" water depths and of the 11 exploration wells drilled so far (2 onshore, 9 offshore) 10 revealed oil and/or gas, the statement said.

"There are strong indications that multiple petroleum systems may be present," the statement said.

The onshore blocks are the Negril, Santa Cruz, Portland and Windsor blocks.

The exploration licenses are for a period of five years and, if oil and gas are found, production-sharing contracts with the government would be for 20 years and extendible to 30 years if necessary, Wright said.

About Business News Americas: Business News Americas is a multilingual news and business information service that covers the most important original stories in 11 different business sectors throughout Latin America everyday. Visit BNamericas to access our real-time news reports, 7-year archive, Fact File company database, and latest research reports.

Click here for a Free two week trial to our Latin America Oil & Gas information service.