Is There Oil In Jamaica?


Questions are being raised this afternoon about the extent of a commercial oil find in Jamaica, and the potential benefit to the country.

A press conference by the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica, PCJ, scheduled for this afternoon to address the issue, was abruptly cancelled just a few minutes before it was to begin.

According to a press release by United Oil and Gas in February, new estimates indicate there are some 229-million barrels of recoverable oil and gas offshore Jamaica.

United Oil and Gas has a 20-percent stake in a block of Jamaica’s waters being explored for oil.

Our Business and Finance Editor, Kalilah Reynolds reports.

United Oil and Gas says it commissioned an independent report to evaluate Jamaica’s potential for oil, based on new data.

Tullow Oil, which holds the other 80-percent of the license for the Walton Morant block of Jamaica’s waters, completed a 3D survey of the area a year ago.

Based on that data, United says an independent expert now believes Jamaica has 229-million barrels of recoverable oil.

That’s 10-million barrels more than previously estimated.

To put it in context, that’s about the amount of Trinidad and Tobago’s proven oil reserves, according to data on the US Energy Information Administration, EIA’s website as of 2019.

US-EIA estimates Guyana’s proven oil reserves at 800-million to 1-point-4 billion barrels.

Venezuela has the world’s largest proven reserves – over 300 billion barrels.

CEO of United Oil and Gas, Brian Larkin, is quoted as saying that the new estimate for Jamaica is eye-catching.

He says it’s a standout outcome, as it’s not uncommon for the estimate to be downgraded when 2D tests are mapped out in 3D.

According to the statement, the independent report also gives an increased likelihood that drilling for oil in the area would result in a discovery.

That likelihood has been increased from 16-percent to 20-percent.

Larkin says the next step would be to make the decision to drill what could be a transformational well for United.

He says they’re working closely with Tullow on a forward plan for the license.

The news from United Oil and Gas was carried in a handful of international finance-related media, including the Financial Times based in London, and BN Americas, a website dedicated to business news out of Latin America.

But it was largely missed by Jamaican media, as there was no announcement made locally.

A press conference by the PCJ scheduled for 1 this afternoon was abruptly cancelled at the last minute.

A statement from the PCJ says they will be issuing a news release shortly.

Nationwide News has sent an Access to Information request for a copy of the Production Sharing Agreement signed between the PCJ, and Tullow Oil in 2014.

Among the key questions are, what is the benefit to Jamaica under the agreement, in the event of a commercial oil find?

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