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Tullow Jamaica begins 2D seismic search for oil

Published:Wednesday | January 13, 2016 | 1:00 AMSteven Jackson

Tullow Jamaica Limited will begin 2D seismic surveys south of the island today, Wednesday, in a zone it is licensed to prospect to determine the possible presence of oil and gas.

It's the latest development in the island's search for the fossil.

"The survey will start on January 13, 2016, and will last for approximately seven weeks, weather permitting," said the company in a notice to all maritime interests that might sail in the area.

Tullow received an environmental permit to carry out a 2D seismic survey within an area spanning thousands of kilometres. The vessel BGP Challenger will lead the survey with two support vessels. The survey will trigger sound-waves from a device on the ship towards the ocean floor. Once data bounces back to the ship's device it will indicate details of the rock types beneath the earth's surface in a bid determine whether the contents possibly contain oil.

Telephone conversations with Tullow country representative David Barrett led to mailed queries, which were unanswered up to press time. A stakeholders meeting, which included members of the media, was due to be held on Tuesday, he said.

In July 2015, Tullow completed its underwater survey of the 32,000 square kilometre area south of Jamaica, or bathymetry. At the time its UK-based parent stated that its study of underwater depths in the Walton and Morant basins provided indications of possible seeps on which to position drop cores.

In November 2014, the Jamaican Government announced that it resumed the search for oil and gas in Jamaica with the issuing of the licence to Tullow, which reportedly committed US$60 million ($6.7 billion) to explore the island's south coast.

The Government and Tullow entered into a production sharing agreement that reportedly will secure between 45 and 48 per cent of production above 50,000 barrels. The Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica will oversee the arrangement on behalf of the Government to ensure that the provisions are fulfilled.

steven.jackson@gleanerjm.com