Oil – a dream or reality?

Submitted by Andrew Nehaul

Carlisle Bay and Bimshire.

These are the names of the two offshore blocks obtained by BHP Petroleum for oil exploration. These blocks are located between 40 km to 140 km Southeast of Barbados collectively encompass an area of 5,000 km2 in area and sitting in water depths ranging from 1,200 meters to 2,000 meters.

These depths are deep but with today’s technology, not impossible for the extraction of oil and gas. With the recent finds off Guyana, a greater possibility exists for Barbados to soon become a member of this exclusive club.

There is no guarantee that oil will be found during BHP’s exploration but if it is, now is the best time to prepare for that possibility. If their work bears fruit, there will be an influx of other players rushing to our shores and so the Government must be knowledgeable and well prepared to negotiate with all interested parties.

Before we all jump up and down in glee and hope that Barbadians will all now be rich, increased revenue for the treasury does not mean gas at 5 cents a litre and money for all. On the contrary, any funds received should be spent wisely. Preferably on improving the islands infrastructure, health and welfare along with the creation of a wealth fund for future generations.

So, if oil is in our future, what happens next?

1) We need to be ready to create a Barbados Oil Ministry with qualified lawyers, engineers, visionaries and consultants who could advise the current and future methods of negotiating any and all gas and petroleum contracts. We must learn from what happened in Angola.

2) Investment possibilities for local Barbadians. 40 km offshore will mean from helicopter services to boats taking food and supplies on a 24 hour basis, to increased private air traffic at the airport, increased cargo handling at the port along with more tugs and pilots etc Let us not also forget that institutions like the Barbados Community College may need to be expanded as they will need to provide technical training in industrial welding both above ground as well as undersea, commercial electricians, and pipe fitting.

3) The creation of a wealth fund staffed with the best investment bankers with specific safe (conservative) long term investment strategies.

4) The creation of a new port on the east of the island to exclusively service the oil and gas industry. This should include a state of the art centre for an expanded coast guard and a new quick response long range marine fire fighting service.

5) Improvements to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital to include a helicopter pad for emergencies and an expanded surgical section to include but not limited to a specialized burn unit.

6) The training of Barbadians in the oil industry from non skilled workers to providing scholarships for persons interested in the oil and gas industry.

Careers in Oil and Gas There are countless jobs within the industry, each of them requiring different levels of skill and education. The most advanced jobs require degrees while the entry- and mid-level jobs require more basic training and education. Today there are over 1.700 Guyanese citizens working in their oil industry and we can expect that 20 – 30% of the working population in Barbados will find jobs in this industry when production commences.

The Government would be wise to have an exploratory committee formed and ready. To many the above scenario may sound like a dream but I can assure you that when the first discovery is announced by BHP or others, it will be one day too late to start planning.

178 thoughts on “Oil – a dream or reality?

  1. Not going to argue but 10 million US equivalent to 20millinon bds when compared to 45million is a great difference in over all cost

  2. @ Hal

    Government’s true gross debt as of today is unmeasureable.

    I say that because too many of their major entities like the NIS, transport board etc have not filed audited financial statements for years. As a result it would be impossible to arrive at a consolidated debt figure or asset figure for any of these entities. What we do know is we in Nuff debt though.

  3. Choose one
    He who fights and run away lives to fight and run away.

    He who right and run away is a coward.

    He who fights and run away, lives to run another day.

    See you guys later. Running away.

  4. @ John A

    That is the point. This is mainly due to incompetence, but it is a convenient incompetence. It is also embarrassing to those of us who will like to refer to the way we manage our public affairs.
    We need proper government accounts.

  5. @David

    Read you DEFAULT LINK, the major thing I’ve concluded from the article Barbados could not partake of any of the advantageous options that the article put forward. Barbados in my humble opinion would have been better off DEVALUATING and living with the consequences rather than declaring DEFAULT. Default has left them saddled with more debt, increasing debt repayment, the option to borrow is extremely limited and ultimately they will likely have still devalue the currency in which case it will make it more difficult to pay back borrowed HARD CURRENCY.

    • @Wily

      The article suggests a successful opposition party if elected can disassociate itself from the policies of the former government. Wishful thinking we know.

  6. @ Hal

    So then the MOF says ” we cant get audited financials for these entities going back years.” So wait who has the power to fire and replace boards not the same MOF?

    Its all just a circus of blame where the incompetance of one is shed onto the other. Truly a dam joke.

  7. @ David BU at 8 :29 AM
    Surely the issue is not whether a contrivance is new or not? Surely it is about whether it is rational,ethical or makes good economic sens?. We have had this debate before. Is debt repudiation a wise move for a country which previously had a reputation for good governance , economic management and financial credibility?

    • @Vincent

      The SIMPLE answer is no BUT we agree the predicament Barbados found itself read junk status credit rating and unable to defend the sacred peg was DIFFICULT.

  8. @ John A

    It goes beyond simply fudging the figures, accountant s do that every day. Let us go back to the post-CoVid economic plan. If ever there was an opportunity for the digitisation of public sector records this is it.
    Not only will this drag us kicking and screaming in to the 21st century, it will improve productivity, thus the much talked about magical fiscal space.
    Instead, Dr Persaud (did he do a PhD? If so, where, when and what was his thesis?) has come up with the old trick of transferring wealth from the very poor to the wealthy and well-connected, while telling the masses to drink the medicine, it will do them good.
    In the meantime, like old ladies in the village Pentecostal church, we are speaking in tongues, dancing as if in the power, while reciting nonsense about foreign reserves and devaluation.

  9. @ David BU

    It would only appear difficult if one drank the Kool Aid.Because somethings are difficult does that mean doing the abominable. Difficult does not translate to impossible. At least not in my book. There are always better and wiser alternatives.

    • @Vincent

      To a degree this is true. Our breed of politician these days have shown a reluctance for creative problem solving.


  10. @ David BU at 10:33 AM

    A political party may distance itself from the policies of a previous administration. It cannot distance itself from the commitments and obligations of the GoB. Your notion and understanding of the cited article does not represent who we are. Nor our system of governance. Your recommendation is not fit for purpose.

  11. @ Hal

    I agree with you completely. What is lacking from all of these discussions and 3 card presentations is this.

    How will caribbean governments migrate their economies from a pre covid tourism based one to a post covid one where tourism represents no more than 50% of its total GDP?

    The problem is no one wants to have that discussion as its bad politics, so instead of working for their money the Brainiacs come up with ideas like pull down the reserves which wunna cant replace as tourism dead for now, to pay unemployment benefits.

    Total nonesence and a waste of time as it has nothing that will benefit the economy in it.

  12. @ David BU at 11:12 AM

    Politicians were never the main sources of creative thinking. The much maligned Public Servants and the think tanks in the backrooms of the political parties are the places where creative thinking takes place. We have been fortunate this far to have had visionary leaders. They need bright civil servants and bright members, a dream team. There are too many brimblers in town.

  13. @ David Bu at 11 :30 AM

    You may be right. But if that is the case, they are not doing themselves or this country justice. Most technocrats have professional standards to maintain. They put at risk their investment of time and money into their education. Their accreditation can be suspended, not to speak of their reputation and self- respect.

    • @Vincent

      The blogmaster is guided by Senator Franklyn on this issue. He often makes the point there is a good reason many are acting.


  14. @ John A

    I am trying to leave a legacy for you young fellows. David confesses that the ancestors did not leave any will nor legacies. I suspect that it has to do with the level of oestrogen that is leaking into the water supply. You will have to check with GP on this. It is above my level of competence.

  15. @Wily, I agree, note that I said “within current financial structure” .

    It is technically and practically room. But yes, use of this, without corresponding revenues does widen the debt gap.

    @Hal, I agree that. Government expenditures should be used where that money would best create structural growth in the economy, of course. Debt financing, towards economic growth, can be beneficial.

    However, where it is merely throwing money into a sinkhole, is madness.


  16. The biggest concern i see here is the absence in addressing the post covid economy by ALL parties involved. By that I mean the opposition, the press, the economic society, everyone like church mice on the issue.

    Fellows wunna cant wish away covid. Right now much of Europe is trending up again. Those are our source markets. If wunna feel you can out wait this virus you fooling wunna self. Look at the blows our tourism home market economies are taking and stop fooling wunna self that tourism will rebound quickly.

    In other words the ” ostrich approach” that wunna love to use will not work here, cause whenever wunna take you head out the sand covid going be there waiting pun you. So whats de plan?

  17. @ John A

    Watch the old trick. Say nothing, do nothing, see nothing. The people are in the dark and they do not know. Look how they are attacking the OECD, the EU,, everybody but themselves.

  18. @ Hal

    So Hal they using the TRUMPIAN APPROACH then? Lol

    I hear on my Tv yesterday Trump say if they take out places like New York they did well with Covid

    So wait he sell New York to Canada this week then? Lord if we dont laugh we will dead!

  19. Two words attracted my attention in the discussion about the buses

    College of Negotiators
    In a time when the challenges are far and wide in barbados
    How is it that govt found money to funnel ” College of Negotiators” to find buses for Barbados
    Also what cost did govt pay them
    As if not the cost of buses are astronomical why oh why must govt continue to create positions for few

  20. @ John A

    It is circus horse riding. One minute they imposed an austerity programme, but they never said it was austerity; then they imposed a stimulus programme, but never admitted it.
    Then the president appears on CNN, the BBC World, ITV, and we are told how wonderful she is doing, promoting our tourism product as the chairman calls it.
    But the era of cheap flights is over, there is an urgent need for a new tourism business product (that word again), apart from sun, sea and Bajan bovine excrement.
    The Barbados experience must mean more than cricket, drinking bad rum and liming at Oistin’s. Travelling is more than a hotel room, ZR vans, a taxi drive round the country and eating in an over-expensive restaurant.
    I will take a lesson from @PLT and not offer any ideas, but there are numerous ideas for good leisure and tourism. We are all in this together.

  21. @ Hal

    PLT says he done sharing ideas as he has not got his royalty cheque yet on the last one! Lol

    But yes the post covid product must represent value and quality.

  22. There are apparently two islands called Barbados:

    Tron lives on the first island. He sees how our leader takes care of the country and that the tourists will all be back next summer at the latest.

    The rest of the BU commentators live on the second island. On this island everything is hopeless, gloom and doom.

  23. …So at the end of day, all of you think you have answers and solutions for a dead economy that is the product of a dead colonial system that not one Black person invented…..at least PLT sees and has learned that his ideas will be twisted and turned to shit and used as a weapon of discrimination, oppression and exploitation against the majority population both on the island and in the wider Caribbean……

    ….ah won’t give the sell outs in the parliament an idea to save any of them because ah done know that it will not be used to save the people..they got more than enuff from me already anyway… the last one they took and twisted into their own stupidity got them sued..

    …but they are not the only one, another clown who tried to set me up, got sued too…lol

    no use telling yall that it’s the system itself that’s the problem, the way it was misused and weaponized to abuse the people and now has run it’s course everywhere, that was LONG BEFORE COVID……hence Ms. Fighting Imperialism was begging Pope Fraud for a new world order, a sellout will always be a sellout….cause she don’t have the intelligence to devise a new system to benefit her people, so she prefers colonizers to create one to benefit those whom she makes sure benefits now…

    …..using a sieve to catch water, will always produce the same results, ya are going nowhere fast.

  24. Patriotic Barbadians will never hesitate to share ideas if the goal is to assist the country of birth.

    I see your handlers are getting desperate. The local ruling elite gets almost all of its ideas from a narrow, closed coterie of friends and hangers on. Next on the list are foreigners, preferably non-Black and non-Bajan. Ideas from Bajans outside the coterie (local or overseas) is a last resort. These ideas will be treated with contempt and suspicion but if useful, elite will almost always be used without attribution.

  25. ‘A little bird told Tron: Baloney is out of the Hyatt project.’

    so, is he now going to pay import duties and taxes on those two luxurious, 4matic, mercedes banzs?
    So, Mia took mrs ram land for the jerkman then.

  26. TronSeptember 5, 2020 1:29 PM Why must the views be so polarised? If you see everything as rosy, then darn, those spectacles are amazing.

    This is not a slight at Mia, but merely stating reality. She took over a pig’s ear and is trying to make silk. At least she is trying.

  27. @Vincent CodringtonSeptember 5, 2020 11:12 AM @ David BU at 10:33 AM A political party may distance itself from the policies of a previous administration. It cannot distance itself from the commitments and obligations of the GoB. Your notion and understanding of the cited article does not represent who we are. Nor our system of governance. Your recommendation is not fit for purpose.

    I copied your comment, as I wanted it close to reference for the reader. The first sentence, agreed. The second, I know where you are coming from, but the second may not be so cut and dried. It depends how radical one wishes to be. Of course, debt obligations etc are more firm, except for re-negotiation. However, perception of other international agreements are a matter of perception based on ideology. Which leads me to the third sentence ”..does not represent who we are. Nor our system of governance.”

    That last one is a matter of ideology. Pure and simple. That can change, based on political outlook. Your view of ‘who we are” may differ from another’s. Or, as inferred in your comment, you see it as static, while another may reject the status quo.

    Food for thought.

  28. A new government cannot be bound by agreements made by a previous government. That is the international law and the reality of having general elections. The practicality is that governments take full responsibility for agreements legally entered in to by previous governments.
    The alternative is to withdraw through the mechanisms of parliament. Therefore, Trump could withdraw from the Paris Agreement and the other participants could not take legal action against him.
    Had this not been so, there will be total chaos. Nothing will function.

  29. @ David
    “ Patriotic Barbadians will never hesitate to share ideas if the goal is to assist the country of birth.”

    From some of your previous comments and other clowns on BU, the above quote does not include Bajans “living overseas.”
    All one has to do is wait on you jokers to spit up in the air and then watch it drop in wunnuh face.

    @ Pacha
    You now get around to @ David always defending this administration ?

    • @William

      It is no surprise you are willing to be guided by a misguided minioroty. In any event one is patriotic or not – it is not determined by others.


  30. @ Hal
    Do you care to name any brand of Barbados rum that is “ bad”. A rum that wins all international competitions and that remains one of our greatest forex earners. This is a very serious question.
    Just name them or stop the nonsensical assault on our major manufacturing product. This nonsense about gin, vodka and whiskey being superior to any rum produced anywhere in the Caribbean , especially Guyana and Barbados, is pure nonsense and defines why we would always seem to think that imported crap is better than anything we produce.
    Like I said and I am very serious: Name these “ rums” or brands.

  31. @ William Skinner September 6, 2020 6:55 AM

    The only “bad rum” we know in Barbados is the mixed-up grogs Hal’s family used to sell in Nelson Street to get men from the country ‘pissed’ to pick fares.

    Why don’t you ask the same Hal how much the same watered-down “bad rum” from Barbados costs in the supermarkets and off-licences in Britain compared to whisky, vodka and gin?

  32. @ Dame Bajans September 5, 2020 11:36 PM
    “‘A little bird told Tron: Baloney is out of the Hyatt project.’
    so, is he now going to pay import duties and taxes on those two luxurious, 4matic, mercedes banzs?”

    Excellent question!

    We just hope our court jester Tron is not stirring up a hornet’s nest in these pandemic times of pure economic pandemonium.

    Shouldn’t we be asking these rather pertinent questions of the new MoT or even our BU resident expert on these matters, the MIA (missing in action) man “Enuff”?

    It would be just as enquiringly interesting to find out who underwrote the cost of demolition and removal of the rubble and waste from the now window to the pristine looking Carlisle Bay.

    Maybe the same Baloney is about to go into oil exploration offshore the same Carlisle Bay.

    How can anyone be given permission to ‘erect’ such a monster on the seaside in a 21st century Barbados which likes to boast of its leadership role in the SIDS environmental lobby?

    Does this mean the Hyatt will have to be removed from the Guv of the Central Bank’s quarterly-reporting pipeline of investment projects to be replaced by the fool’s gold of offshore oil exploration in the same Carlisle Bay?

  33. Good article by Andrew Nehaul. Not being facetious, but he can add updated legislation on nightclubs and casinos, for the foreign workers and experts who are working hard on the rigs. With this should come some open minded thinking and more open licensing, in many respects.

  34. @ William

    At various points men (they were usually men) drinking rum in rum shop would prefer one make to another. They would always say that rum ‘bad’. I take it they were experts.
    As a non-rum drinker, not even as a young man, I cannot give an expert opinion. But I believe the judgement of those old men in the Ivy.
    At various times they have said they did not like Pretty Girl, Martin Dooley’s, Alleyne Arthur’s, et al. By the way, how many Barbadian rums win international competitions? Who were the judges? In England, why should a white Englishman know more about the quality of rum that an ordinary Barbadian? Does Cuban and Puerto Rican rum qualify as Caribbean? How about the Bahamas?
    Don’t let sentimental nationalism mislead us.

  35. @ Miller

    Hal Austin know he make a stupid comment bout “bad rum” and now only trying to save face with that poor, half bake response to Skinner.

    We know that Pretty Girl and Martin Doorley done selling bout here years ago, and Alleyne Arthur is not a popular rum with rum drinkers of today. So that means he have to be calling Mount Gay, Cockspur and David Seale ordinary and premium rums, “bad rums.”

    But since Hal Austin say he DON’T DRINK RUM, and all them old men he say he believe their judgement GOT TO BE DEAD by now, I wonder who is them experts that tell he the rums tourists coming bout here nowadays to drink, BAD?

    Unless he must be really think all uh we so appallingly ignorant that he could fool we into thinking that what old men back in the 1940s or 50s say bout rum in them days, still apply to rum nowadays.

  36. @ Hal
    An obvious red herring. Saying you don’t like a rum is a preference , it does not mean the quality is bad.
    Your comment about “bad” rum was a blanket statement, on a product , you have often stated can be pushed more , to be an economic saver.
    I can assure you that there are quite a few completions and tastings throughout the world and Barbados rum is a constant winner in several categories.
    It’s unfortunate that you have now joined the crowd of those who deem any defense of the homeland as misdirected nationalism. Should we therefore apply the tag of misdirected globalism to your comments ? Are we to ask if all the sources you continuously quote , are profoundly out of touch because they do not originate in the homeland.
    As you said you are no rum expert and neither am I; however you are perhaps the only one in the world who does not know that Barbados is the oldest producer of rum.
    For example I can’t stand the taste of Tanqueray gin but it’s acknowledge as a fine gin. So I can become an instant expert by going in a rum shop and declaring it “bad” because I don’t like it.
    You are way off mark and my brother back off this nonsense of misguided nationalism . Defending our country’s finest export is simply being proud that we have a product that reaches and surpasses the international standards that you and others say we must compete with.
    BTW ,I am indeed a proud nationalist.

  37. @ William

    Is this a question of BU comprehension. I never said anything about liking rum or not liking rum. I said as a non-rum drinker (my preferred drink is Gin) I am not an expert. But I spent my youth sitting in the door of a rum shop listening to older rum drinkers talk about what they were drinking. You are now asking me to deny my childhood.
    You talk about a brand of gin being recognised a ‘fine”. Who by? Who says I did not know that Barbados is the oldest rum-producing country? I am a gin drinker but not Tanqueray. So what?
    Maybe your sentimental nationalism drives you to like all Bajan rums. If all Bajan rums are of the same quality then why ask people to choose? It makes no difference to me. I have had rum and I have had Champagne. I do not prefer either. Tell Butch Stewart that Barbados makes the best rum in the world.
    It is nice you are a proud nationalist. I am not a Bajan nationalist. That should not come as a surprise to you or any other BU reader. I am a huge supporter of working class Caribbean people. Do you honestly expect me to become a Bajan nationalist with these grossly incompetent, corrupt, dishonest politicians we have and a mediocre professional middle class pouncing about like wild rabbits looking to steal from their clients? So as not to leave no doubt, I have nothing but contempt for them.
    I agree with you, and have said on BU on a number of occasions, that rum is our only genuine global export, not the prostitution of tourism. The problem is that both BLP and DLP governments do not know how to exploit it.
    Let us talk about that, if you want a serious debate.

  38. @Hal
    A very good response.

    I was expecting you to be dismissive, but apart from your opening sentence, the tone of your response encourages a debate.

  39. @ Mr. Skinner

    An interesting ‘discussion’ about “bad rum.” However, I agree with your comments. Rather than your comrade admitting his “comment about “bad” rum was a silly blanket statement,” he preferred to engage in ‘verbal gymnastics.’

    I have heard people say, ‘back in the day,’ old rum drinkers used to refer to particular brands of rum as “bad” if they had some REASON to DISLIKE it………and would ‘switch’ to brand B. When, in their opinion, that brand eventually becomes “bad,” they would either ‘switch’ to brand C or return to brand A.

    Today’s rum drinkers have replaced that expression with saying “the rum green because it selling too fast and ent get time to cure.” Do these opinions qualify those men as rum drinking experts or connoisseurs? At the end of the day, ‘it all boils down’ to an individual’s preference, taste or budget.

    Hearing a few guys in specific rum shop, say a particular brand of alcoholic beverage is ‘bad or green,’ simply because they DISLIKE it, cannot be used as a basis upon which to call them EXPERTS (or a general consensus of opinion), especially when the opinions of rum drinkers in other shops have not been taken into consideration.

    I believe that’s the point you were trying to make. In other words, all a rum drinker has to do is go into his favourite ‘watering hole,’ declares ESAF white rum is ‘bad’ because he does not like it……. and he immediately becomes an expert whose judgement is to be believed above all others.

    Is your comment re: “Saying you don’t like a rum is a preference, it does not mean the quality is bad,” a response to your comrade’s comment re: “At various times they have said they did not like Pretty Girl, Martin Dooley’s, Alleyne Arthur’s, et al?”

    If so, is the word ‘YOU’ a SPECIFIC REFERENCE to him, or was it used, as is often done in Bajan vernacular, for a general reference, in the case people who don’t like rum?

  40. @john2 September 4, 2020 9:09 PM “oil : is not a reality so it cannot be a curse. so from the answers provided it will have to be a dream. Whats my prize?”


    And cheers.

    And a new yellow, sharpened number 2 pencil with a pink eraser on top.

    Things tight. So It is all I can afford today.

  41. @ Artax
    I like Jamaica Rey and Nephew white. A Jamaican partner came to Barbados and believes in ESAF. Recently a Bajan who hates whiskey was introduced to Johnnie Walker Double Black and he now drinks that but still prefers Mount Gay XO. As far me nothing beats a Cockspur White straight up. Yet we all agree that the best mixer with any thing is good old coconut water.
    Quite recently I was given a bottle of PROBITAS it’s a blended white distilled by Foursquare Distillery in Bdos. and a distillery in Hamden Jamaica. The color is very close to light lard oil so it really doesn’t look like white rum.
    You should give it a try. Foursquare has been winning awards all over the world.

  42. @ Artax
    I really meant to say it’s all about taste. Brother Hal has invited me to try gin and tonic. I have not touched gin in nearly thirty years but that’s his thing. His taste -it’s not “bad”

  43. @ William

    Wray & Nephew 150 proof. There is also a Grenadian rum, also 150 proof. Powerful. I said before, I went to the distillery, lots of wild pigeons flying around and in need of a clean up, but the rum was good even for a non-rum person.

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