JIS News

Cabinet has approved the arrangements by which the Jamaican Government, through the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ), will initiate a round of petroleum exploration within Jamaica’s Exclusive Economic Zone.
Information Minister, Senator Burchell Whiteman gave details of the initiative at yesterday’s (November 15) post-Cabinet press briefing at Jamaica House.
He informed that approval was given for the initiation of a round of oil exploration contracts for 22 offshore blocks and four onshore blocks earmarked on the plan developed by the PCJ.The Minister pointed out that the blocks would be assigned to explorers on a competitive bidding or “first come first served basis”.
Senator Whiteman said it was intended that royalties and a percentage of the contractor’s profits be retained by the Government for use in national development, including the support of science and technology programmes in schools and to meet community and environmental needs.
He emphasized that the intention was not for the Government to be engaged in expensive explorations, but that “persons with the experience and expertise in the acquisition and distribution of oil” would fund the activities.
Citing the upcoming international Energy Conference in London from November 23-25, Senator Whiteman said Jamaica would use the opportunity to formally announce and promote its pursuit of oil and gas exploration and invite the international Oil and Gas community to participate in the first licensing round for Jamaica.
Noting that while attempts to drill for oil during the mid 1950s and early 1980s had been abandoned due to evidence of less expensive sources elsewhere, the Minister told journalists that attention has once again been turned to resuming exploration in Jamaica with initial analyses, which “suggest that there are sources of oil in viable commercial quantities, moreso in the Pedro Banks and offshore areas”.
All petroleum, inclusive of oil and natural gas, existing in its natural state in Jamaica, its continental shelf and exclusive economic zone is vested in the crown as stated by the 1979 Petroleum Act. The Act also grants the PCJ exclusive rights to explore and develop petroleum resources.
Meanwhile, Senator Whiteman also informed of Cabinet’s approval for the awarding of a US$915,000 contract, inclusive of reimbursables, to Magnus Carriers Corporation to provide ship management services to Petrojam Limited for a two-year period.
Senator Whiteman said the bid from Magnus was one of seven received from ship management companies and was approved by the National Contracts Commission. The bid from Magnus Carriers represents potential savings of US$81,000 or J$4.98 million over the two years, when compared to the next best offer.

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