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Tullow Oil moves to 3-d surveys in oil and gas exploration

Thursday, October 05, 2017

KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) — Encouraged by findings from two-dimensional seismic surveys conducted off the country's south coast in the search for oil and gas in Jamaica, Tullow Oil will now be moving to three-dimensional surveying.

Science, Energy and Technology Minister, Dr Andrew Wheatley, made the disclosure at the opening ceremony of a three-day Natural Gas Conference held at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston yesterday.

Tullow Oil conducted two rounds of two-dimensional seismic surveys over the past 18 months. “This means that the data from previous investigations have been so encouraging that the explorers want to take a more in-depth look. This is, indeed, a significant development... . This is a clear indication that the possibility of oil and gas is out there off our south coast,” Dr Wheatley said.

Tullow Oil is a leading independent oil exploration and production company headquartered in the United Kingdom (UK).

It undertook the survey of 3,000 kilometres of blocks off the south coast of Jamaica as part of the work programme outlined in the Production Sharing Agreement (PSA) the company signed with the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ) in November 2014.

Dr Wheatley indicated that the new step to be undertaken by Tullow Oil “marks the first time in the history of Jamaica's oil and gas exploration programme that an explorer will carry out such detailed analysis of our offshore”.

“This development will, no doubt, send a signal to other prospective explorers that they should consider Jamaica. We believe that this will pave the way for the PCJ as it continues its drive to engage other capable explorers to take up Jamaica's 20 available offshore blocks,” he said.

Meanwhile, Dr Wheatley indicated that the Government intends to strategically position Jamaica as the regional hub for natural gas “igniting prospects in bunkering and shipping and logistics”. He is encouraging tertiary institutions to “develop expertise and modify curricula” to adequately service the industry with local talent.

The two-day conference, under the theme 'New Horizons: The Development of a Natural Gas Sector in Jamaica – Prospects and Challenges', is being jointly hosted by the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR) and the PCJ.

It seeks to foster a greater understanding of the implications of the introduction of natural gas to the Jamaican market, with particular emphasis on the anticipated economic impact, project commercial opportunities, governance and regulation.

By June 2019, 45 per cent of the electricity supplied by the Jamaica Public Service (JPS) will come from cheaper, cleaner liquefied natural gas (LNG).

By then, the power company's Old Harbour and Jamalco plants will come on stream to join the Bogue facility in St James, which received its first shipment of LNG in October 2016.

OUR Chairman, Joseph Matalon, in his remarks, said the introduction of natural gas is a potential game changer for Jamaica's energy industry and for the wider economy.

“Today, more than 90 per cent of electricity generation in Jamaica is fuelled by imported heavy fuel. This has proven expensive, inefficient and unstable, especially given the volatility of oil prices,” he noted.

Matalon acknowledged that while natural gas prices are not immune to volatility, the ability to support new and more fuel conversion-efficient investments will go a far way in alleviating these effects.

He noted further that reduction in the use of heavy fuel oil and adaptation of natural gas will yield benefits for the environment.

For his part, PCJ Chairman, Russell Hadeed, noted that conference attendees will learn from regional experts and providers about the natural gas industry and its implications.

There will be an in-depth analysis of the global picture and examination of the local nuances of developing a natural gas sector in Jamaica.