BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Jan. 24 (UPI) -- Barbados has said it will begin offering offshore blocks to international companies to look for oil.
Energy and Environment Minister Elizabeth Thompson told the House of Assembly Tuesday a British company was preparing the blocks that may be offered for public tender by the end of the first quarter of 2007.
Exploratory offshore wells drilled by Conoco five years ago were promising, she said.
"We have had a number of visits and inquiries from oil moguls, big, small and aspiring and we have been able to get a feel for the level of keenest which exists on the part of these countries to pump into Barbados and get into our oil industry because the seismic data yielded by Conoco looks so promising," she said.
The comments were reported by the Caribbean Media Corp.
Thompson said the government would ensure that the country gained from any drilling program.
"One of the imperatives set down is that the program in Barbados is developed in such a way that they enter into a social partnership with us for the development of the people of Barbados and provide training and education to ensure that we are capable of dealing with the technology and that the jobs, the majority of them, will go to Barbadians," she said. "We are getting ready to train a core of people to get them ready to work in an oil industry."
She said the companies that drill in Barbados must have a solid environmental record.
Barbados does not have significant reserves, but does have a small amount of domestic production, the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the Department of Energy's data arm.
Oil production from January-June 2006 totaled 1,000 bbl/d.