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JIS News

The first licensing round for the exploration of oil and gas off and onshore Jamaica, was formally launched in London today (November 22), by Minister of Commerce, Science and Technology, Phillip Paulwell.
Speaking to a specially invited group representing several international oil companies and industry watchers, Mr. Paulwell said while Jamaica last explored for oil and gas in the 1980s, modern techniques and re-analysis have now resulted in a much deeper and more positive understanding of the island’s potential.
“The government has decided to re-invigorate interest in the exploration. A contract was signed with JEBCO Alliance and they have completed their review of the data and have found considerable potential within unexplored areas of offshore southern Jamaica and indeed onshore. The prospects are readily drillable with today’s technology,” he said.
The formal launch of the licensing round comes a day before the start of the international Energy Conference in London, which will be held from November 23 to 25. Jamaica will have a pavillion at the conference.
In an interview with JIS news, Mr. Paulwell said the intention of the launch was to stir interest in the licensing round.
“We believe our story is far more exciting now (than it was in the past). I am very impressed with the level of interest being shown. We have one participant who has come all the way from Malaysia and all the major oil companies will participate in the conference,” the Minister said.
Cabinet last week approved the arrangements by which the Jamaican Government, through the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ), will initiate petroleum exploration within Jamaica’s Exclusive Economic Zone. In the first licensing round, the Government is offering 22 offshore blocks and four onshore blocks. The formal bidding will open on January 1, 2005 and close on July 15, 2005.
The Jamaican delegation in London also include Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of PCJ, Dr. Raymond Wright, and Ambassador Peter King.
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, K. D. Knight also attended the launch.