Canadian-based Sagres Energy has begun the second exploration phase and plans to drill its first well within three years as it continues the search for oil offshore Jamaica, according to a company statement.
Based on an agreement concluded with the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ), the second phase will have a term of two and a half years starting on May 1, 2012 and expiring on November 1, 2014, the company said.
This follows research done by Rainville Energy Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Sagres, which mapped an area offshore Jamaica believed to contain the equivalent of three billion barrels of oil in its first stage of exploration.
Oil at that level would rank Jamaica as holding the 30th-largest oil reserves - above Yemen, the United Kingdom and some African nations, according to data from the United States Central Intelligence Agency. Saudi Arabia, Venezuela and Canada rank as the top three nations with oil reserves.
"The Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica has approved the work programme commitments for this (second) phase, which consists mainly of the drilling of ... two exploration wells and carrying out an environmental impact assessment over the blocks," Sagres said in the release.
"Depending on the results of the first exploration well, the company and the PCJ may decide to delay and or acquire additional geological and geophysical data before the drilling of the second exploration well," Sagres added.
A spokesperson for the PCJ told the Financial Gleaner that a well must be drilled in the six months between November 2013 and April 2014.
Rainville is a party to three production-sharing agreements with the PCJ for the right to explore and develop three offshore blocks covering nearly 8,864 square kilometres located offshore the Pedro Banks.
The company said it has completed all the work commitments under the first phase, which consisted of acquiring 2,458 kilometres of new two-dimensional seismic data, as well as carrying out geologic and oceanic surveys on the blocks.