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Barbados digs for oil riches

Regional 07 Mar, 2023 Follow News

Guyana is enjoying huge oil wealth

Barbados is heightening its oil explorations

Barbados is the latest Caribbean country exploring for oil hoping to boost its riches like Suriname and Guyana have done spectacularly in recent years.

Guyana and Suriname are two of the Caribbean Community’s largest and most resource-rich countries. They have found huge offshore oil and gas sources which are raking in billions of dollars.

Guyana’s oil and gas discoveries were so large, the crude oil so light and so cheap to produce, that an international consortium led by American company ExxonMobil broke all records by rushing into actual production by the end of 2019, less than five years after the first discovery. Experts say this was probably an industry record for field development in deep-sea waters. They are already raking in billions. Stockholders are enjoying a windfall.

Neighbouring Suriname had similar discoveries but actual production is not expected to begin before 2027.

The Guyana oil find means that the country could be the Dubai of the Caribbean in a decade. It has led to a mad scramble by other CARICOM member nations to also attract the big oil companies to search for ‘liquid gold’.

Authorities in Barbados last week indicated that it is looking at a similar type of economic transformation in the near future through commercial discoveries.

Senior Barbadian Minister Kerry Symmonds said the prospects of such a find have never been higher as initial explorations indicate that large deposits of hydrocarbons have been identified.

“I don’t want to go and give news now before it is ready to be given, but let us say the prospect is highly regarded,” he told a local academic forum. He added: “We want to be able to have natural gas as the bridging fuel as well.”

Barbados has no major offshore discoveries, but for decades, has been producing about 1,600 barrels of oil daily for inland wells. Neighbours Trinidad and Tobago has been producing oil and particularly gas in large quantities for over a century. It thinks its prospects are great.

Guyana recently placed 14 blocks near the area where Exxon, Hess Corporation, and CNOOC of China are producing nearly 400,000 barrels per day, raking in billions because production costs per barrels have never exceeded $35 per barrel. International prices are around $76 per barrel, making an easy profit for the consortium.

Grenada has also toyed with the idea of attracting exploration companies, well aware that its close proximity to daily Trinidad could bode well for its own prospects.


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