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Belize Rich in Oil

Belize Natural Energy discovered oil in Spanish Lookout 8 months ago. Since then, there has been a sense of cautious optimism because finding oil in three wells does not mean that there are commercial quantities. Last Thursday, that caution was officially thrown to the wind when the announcement was made that Belize indeed has oil in commercial quantities.

“I take this opportunity to inform the Belizean people and this House that on March 6th of 2006, BNE wrote my Ministry and declared, and I quote, ‘BNE indicates that the oil discovery in Spanish Lookout is of commercial quantity,” said Hon. Johnny Briceño, Minister of Natural Resources.

According to the Director of Belize Natural Energy (BNE), the oil exploration outfit harvesting the black gold in the Spanish Lookout area, the company is confident that the oil is of commercial quantity. “Yes, indeed we are confident that we do have a commercial discovery in Belize of the oil find we have made in Spanish Lookout,” stated Sheila McCaffrey, Director of Belize Natural Energy, in an interview with 7News. “We have operationally drilling on the ground since the early days of June 2005, and we have drilled three wells and completed those and have those three wells in production at the moment. A fourth well is underway and will be completed within the next week. Roughly the three wells are producing about 2,000 barrels of high quality, between 39 and 41 degree APIs, light sweet crude oil for the last 90 days so that’s really good news for everyone and it’s really good now to be able to make the announcement that this looks there is a commercial discovery.”

McCaffrey said that the oil discovery has the capacity of making the country self-sufficient on energy. “We believe there are crude reserves at this moment in time of 44 million barrels of oil of which we hope to recover 35% of that which would be normal oil field practice and based on that, that is significant to the country.” She added that the Government of Belize stands to make a substantial amount of money from this and that 38% of all revenue generated from every barrel of oil will go directly to government.

But while the Belize Natural Energy says the figure is around 38% and while Minister of Natural Resources, Johnny Briceno, would not confirm this number, he made it clear that his government believes a figure of around 50% would be acceptable.

Minister Briceño announced last Thursday that the Petroleum Advisory Board has urged government to exercise its option and buy 10% of the equity of Belize Natural Energy. He said that he will now take that recommendation to Cabinet. Since the start of this year, Belize Natural Energy has exported 100,000 barrels of oil to a refinery in Houston. The fourth barge with another 40,000 barrels is presently being loaded up. The company is also building a 40,000 barrel storage facility at the Big Creek Port. And while there is no plan for a refinery of any size, McCaffrey said that the government and Belize Natural Energy are looking at the possibilities for a diesel production unit. (From: 7News)

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