KINGSTON: The Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ) has announced it will ensure that Jamaicans benefit from a gas and oil exploration project if oil is found.
The project, which began on November 1, is being facilitated under a production sharing agreement signed by the PCJ and Tullow Jamaica Limited.
An exploration licence has been issued to the firm, which has committed J$6.7 billion (one Jamaica dollar=US$0.0089) to undertake activities off Jamaica’s south coast.
PCJ manager, Oil and Gas, Brian Richardson, said the PCJ will ensure that the project benefits Jamaicans if the survey results in the discovery of oil.
“We worked very hard to get someone like Tullow Oil on board and it is our earnest wish that as we go forward, it brings the benefits that we desire,” he said. “The PCJ and its team will ensure that we commit all the resources that we do have to ensure that Jamaica gets the fullest benefit from the program being implemented.”
Richardson said the project will have several phases.
“In each of those phases, the explorer, Tullow Oil, will be looking to build on the knowledge of the past and continue to use their internal expertise, develop on that knowledge and hopefully point to a place where we could go on to a more detailed seismic work, using sound waves to investigate under the surface,” he said.
The PCJ executive said that a key component of the project is the intellectual sharing and transfer of knowledge, noting that Tullow Oil will be collaborating with the Department of Geology at the Mona campus of the University of the West Indies.
“They have been here for over 80 years. They have the underground knowledge and I believe that they (Tullow Oil) will definitely use the resources there,” he said, noting that the team will meet with members of the Department of Geology and hold discussions with students pursuing PhDs.
“We want to get them on board to ensure that they go through the process and develop that knowledge base,” he said.
PSJ Group General Manager, Winston Watson, said the immediate benefits of the project will consist of investments in the country and job creation on a small scale.