Petroleum Corporation Taking Environmental Precautions during Oil and Gas Explorations

Photo: Adrian Walker Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ) Oil and Gas Manager, Brian Richardson (left), speaking at a recent JIS Think Tank at the Agency’s Head Office. Also pictured is PCJ’s Manager for Corporate Affairs and Communications, Camille Taylor.

Story Highlights

  • The Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ) is assuring that environmental preservation will be the highest priority during the entity’s search for oil and gas on Jamaica’s south coast.
  • Speaking at a recent JIS Think Tank at the Agency’s head office in Kingston, PCJ’s Oil and Gas Manager, Brian Richardson, emphasised that protection of the environment while undertaking its engagements is a pivotal part of the entity’s mandate.
  • Mr. Richardson said NEPA, as an independent body, “has looked at what Tullow Oil is doing and has seen that they are doing the appropriate work, which is reflected in the international community”.

The Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ) is assuring that environmental preservation will be the highest priority during the entity’s search for oil and gas on Jamaica’s south coast.

Speaking at a recent JIS Think Tank at the Agency’s head office in Kingston, PCJ’s Oil and Gas Manager, Brian Richardson, emphasised that protection of the environment while undertaking its engagements is a pivotal part of the entity’s mandate.

He indicated that the Corporation and its partner in the exploration exercise, Tullow Oil, have been abiding by this in accordance with stipulations from the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA), which is monitoring the project.

Mr. Richardson said NEPA, as an independent body, “has looked at what Tullow Oil is doing and has seen that they are doing the appropriate work, which is reflected in the international community”.

He noted that two 2D surveys have already been conducted by the companies, and “we have not had any issues”.

“We are going to go through it a third time, and I don’t believe we are going to have any issues,” the Manager added.

While pointing out that environmental risk is an ever-present possibility, Mr. Richardson contended that “the way you manage it is to try and reduce that actively, and we have a company who actively pursues that”.

He said that in addition to the seismic vessel, there will also be smaller scout vessels around to protect fragile marine environment so that the various life forms do not cross the path of the large vessel.

Manager Corporate Affairs and Communications at the PCJ, Camille Taylor, said the survey vessel will also have marine mammal observers onboard.

She noted that these individuals have the authority to stop the survey if they think there is any risk to marine life, adding that “they will pretty much be directing when and where (things are done), and their top priority will be to preserve marine life”.

Ms. Taylor further stated that “as it is, seismic surveys are non-invasive and they (persons conducting the exercise) tend to be very respectful of marine life”.

She assured that “the PCJ is taking every precaution, (and) with NEPA and the marine mammals observers on board, it is assured that marine life will not be harmed”.

Oil and gas exploration activities being undertaken by the PCJ and Tullow Oil, which began with an agreement in 2014, will shift into a higher gear with the initiation of the first-ever 3D seismic survey in the waters off Jamaica’s south coast between the Pedro Banks and Portland Cottage this month.

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