BHP Billiton, the Australian mining and resources giant, has signed exploration licences with the Government of Barbados for two blocks close to the island nation.
Once environmental impact assessments and plans are given governmental approval, Billiton will begin a 2D seismic survey of the Carlisle Bay and Bimshire blocks, which are located in water depths of 1,200 to 2,000 metres, around 40 kilometres off the island’s south-eastern coast. Combined, the blocks cover an area of approximately 5,000 square kilometres. If the survey results are positive, Billiton may progress to 3D seismic survey and exploration drilling.
The Barbados National Oil Company would participate in any production activities, should the exploration efforts prove successful.
The announcement comes as interest in oil and gas exploration in the Caribbean increases. Earlier in April the Barbados Prime Minister’s Office launched its 2015 Offshore Petroleum Licensing Campaign and last week ION Geophysical Corporation announced that it has completed its Barbados Reprocessing project.
ION’s project uses the company’s GX Technology team’s latest imaging techniques to reprocess data originally captured in 1999. According to the company, the reprocessing provides significantly improved resolution, an exploration-grade grid and a full regional geological study which can be used to evaluate the hydrocarbon potential of the offshore Barbados area and the eastern Caribbean.
The study offers oil and gas companies 2D pre-stack time migration (PSTM) and pre-stack depth migration (PSDM) data for the Tobago Trough, Barbados Ridge, Barbados Trough forearc basins and the Outer Deformation Front. ION is also offering data for the adjacent Trinidad & Tobago region.