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PCJ yanks oil exploration licence

Thursday, September 27, 2012    

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THE Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ) has pulled oil exploration rights from Rainville Energy.

The Canadian outfit's licence was revoked due to its failure to meet its financial obligations.

Rainville, a subsidiary of Sagres Energy which got the licence in 2006, has spent at least the last 18 months seeking an investment partner to get on board its oil exploration work on three blocks offshore Jamaica.

It needed to secure funding for the second phase of the programme, which included the drilling of an exploratory well by November 2013, but apparently failed to do so, despite getting two extensions.

"While it is regrettable to have to take this step, the PCJ understands that drilling is a very expensive undertaking and we simply cannot move forward without the requisite financing," said Dr Mario Anderson, the PCJ's group managing director.

The Canadian firm received a nine-month extension from the PCJ last March, bringing the deadline for it to decide whether it will proceed with phase two of the exploration work, which consists of completing a detailed analysis and drilling one well at each block, to December 15, 2011

The second phase actually began in May 2012.

Sagres, whose three licences cover 8,800 square kilometres in shallow water (less than 30 metres) offshore Jamaica, announced last year that the blocks had a "seismic bump" that could have substantial amounts of hydrocarbon -- three billion barrels -- based on an independent evaluation of the resource potential prepared by Chapman Petroleum Engineering.

The first phase involved the acquisition and processing of 2,458 km of 2D seismic data over blocks 9, 13 and 14 offshore Jamaica, which is basically achieved by sailing a survey ship along a straight line, towing a 'streamer' -- an eight-kilometre-long fibre optic cable containing hundreds of ultra-sensitive listening devices called hydrophones.

The PCJ said that it would continue to market its open blocks and actively pursue investment for exploration and drilling in Jamaica's onshore and offshore areas.

"We have a comprehensive strategy for pursuing the development of our open acreages," said Anderson. "In keeping with this, we are actively seeking to engage partners and we are targeting a number of exploration and production players, including majors and supermajors, with a view to securing an agreement for major investment in the future," said a PCJ statement.

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