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Offshore Oil Exploration Starts Ruffling Feathers

How would you like to wake up one morning in the near future and instead of admiring the amazing orange glow of the sunrise, you see oil rigs in the sea and clouds of smoke puffing their way towards your home, condo or hotel? Instead of smelling the freshness of the Caribbean Sea, you breathe in the stench of crude oil? What’s your take on this? Pleased? Annoyed? Well for right now it doesn’t matter how you feel. It is how Hon. Gaspar Vega and the Government of Belize feel about it. And obviously they are pleased; just read the facts.

On January 16, 2009 a press release from Belmopan Press Office stated that a Production Sharing Agreement (PSA) was signed in Belmopan between the Government of Belize and OPIC Resource Corporation which is an overseas subsidiary of the Chinese Petroleum Corporation (CPC) of Taiwan.

Hon. Gaspar Vega, Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment signed on behalf of the Government of Belize and Dr. Ming-Tar Lu, President, signed on behalf of OPIC Resource Corporation. The ambassador of the Republic of China (Taiwan) to Belize, His Excellency Ting Joseph Shih was present for the signing.

The agreement provides for Petroleum exploration for a period of eight years in this offshore region. Revenues collected by the Government will include royalties, share of production, income tax, and 10% working interest.

The production sharing agreement is for oil exploration off the shores of the Belize and Stann Creek Districts – an area covering around 1,800 square miles, encompassing the entire Belize City area, much of the Turneffe Atolls, a part of Glovers Reef, as well as the waters very near to San Pedro, Ambergris Caye in the north and Dangriga in the south. It is one of the largest concession areas ever granted by the Government of Belize, spanning a maximum length of 140kms and maximum width of 50kms, near Dangriga.

Director of Geology and Petroleum, Andre Cho, said that CPC would be undertaking deep and shallow offshore drilling, with exploration drilling allowed until 2017, and, production drilling possibly up to 2042, if commercial scale oil reserves are confirmed.

Cho said there were no other PSA’s in the pipeline as the entire country of Belize – land and sea – has been parceled out to companies wanting to explore for oil here. There are 17 other companies licensed, including West Bay Belize, Island Oil Belize, BelGeo, Blue Creek Exploration, and Princess Petroleum. To date, the only commercial producer of petroleum in Belize is Belize Natural Energy (BNE), which declared a commercial find in 2005 and began full production in 2006. All PSA’s give companies up to 8 years to explore for oil, and 25 years to undertake production and pump oil commercially out of the ground. If no oil is found within the 8-year exploration phase, the contract ‘self-terminates,’ meaning it is no longer in effect.

Treaty Energy Corp. announced its 5050 agreement with Princess Petroleum Limited on Thursday, April 22. Princess Petroleum is a Belize company engaged in the business of exploration, development and production of crude oil and natural gas. It is also a part of The Princess Group International, which is engaged in the development of Hotels, Casinos, and other Real Estate ventures throughout South America, the Caribbean, and Europe.

Princess received one of 17 concessions from the government of Belize to explore for oil and natural gas. As part of the joint venture, Treaty will have the right to explore for oil and gas on a total of 2,000,000 acres. The concession consists of 1,800,000 acres of off shore exploration, and 200,000 acres of onshore exploration.

Treaty has engaged a highly respected geoscientist to oversee the taking of soil samples in the best areas proved by satellite and test the samples to determine where the hydrocarbons are and to select a drill site. This geoscientist will come to Belize in early May 2010 to do soil samples and other studies needed to select the first well site. Treaty intends to start drilling its first well no later than July 1, 2010, plans to search for oil in an area almost 10,000 acres off the southern highway.

In the north, Perenco Belize Limited has been awarded a license for oil exploration onshore and offshore. The first block covers 3,250 square kilometers of land and sea in the Corozal, Orange Walk, and Belize Districts and the second mostly-offshore block covers 1,170 square kilometers.

Joining Perenco is Northern Spirit Resources Inc., who has been granted rights to explore over 16 blocks that range 128,000 acres in the northwest corner of the Orange Walk District, and twelve blocks that include 100,324 acres in the north-central, mid-western parts of Belize.

We take it back. It does matter how you feel and here at Ambergris Today, we have received numerous call and visits of persons, associations and organizations expressing utmost disapproval, disgust, even anxiety about the enormity of this agreement and what it could mean to Ambergris Caye, as well as Glover’s Reef and Turneffe Atolls. We’re sure this is not the end of this…

Offshore Oil Exploration Starts Ruffling FeathersOffshore Oil Exploration Starts Ruffling FeathersOffshore Oil Exploration Starts Ruffling FeathersOffshore Oil Exploration Starts Ruffling Feathers

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