Sat | May 26, 2018

Analysis of 3D oil survey could take 18 months

Published:Friday | April 20, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Oil survey vessel Polarcus at work offshore Jamaica.

The Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica, PCJ, indicates that it will take up to 18 months to know the findings of the ongoing 3D gas and oil survey being conducted by Tullow in Jamaica's waters.

"The seismic work will last between 50 and 60 days, and then it may take another 12 to 18 months to analyse the data; but although it will be a while before we have any definitive findings, these investigations will heavily influence the decision-making about drilling so we are monitoring the entire process closely," PCJ group General Manager Winston Watson said in a release on Thursday.

Tullow Oil, a UK company which holds the licence to search for oil within Jamaica's waters, reported steady progress on its 3D seismic survey, which is about 45 per cent complete.

The survey, described as the most advanced study carried out offshore Jamaica, is being conducted under a production-sharing agreement between the PCJ and Tullow.

The process involves a detailed examination of the ocean's subsurface in a 2,250 square kilometre 3D polygon in the Morant Basin area south of Jamaica. Soundwaves are being used to generate images of formations beneath the seafloor, which will then be analysed for indicators of oil and gas reservoirs, PCJ stated.

The study started in early April, following streamer deployment in late March.

"Naturally, we are following the progress of the 3D seismic survey quite closely because the information that is captured over the next few weeks can be critical in determining the future direction of our oil and gas programme," Watson said.

Tullow Oil has invested over US$20 million in Jamaica on its oil explorations since 2014. The company operates in 18 countries. Tullow Uruguay is one stage ahead of Jamaica in the assessment of drilling spots, having completed a 3D survey around the time when Jamaica completed its 2D survey.

Last February, Tullow disclosed that it found 'live oil' off the coast of Jamaica in its latest search. Live oil seeps refers to oil sediments originating from surrounding seafloor. The team was alerted to search the area, based on leads from fishers.

steven.jackson@gleanerjm.com