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Caribbean nations search for oil amid spill fears

March 31, 2013 • Business


FILE – In this Sept. 5, 2005 file photo, the refinery of the state-owned Petroleum Company of Trinidad and Tobago Ltd., PETROTRIN, is shown in Pointe-a-Pierre, on the Gulf of Paria, Trinidad & Tobago. From the Bahamas and Cuba down to Aruba and Suriname, international oil companies are lining up to locate potentially rich offshore deposits in the Caribbean. The countries hope drilling could lead to a black-gold bonanza, easing demand for imported oil and diversifying their economies. (AP Photo/Shirley Bahadur, File)

KINGSTON, Jamaica (AP) — The turquoise waters that have long brought treasure seekers to the Caribbean now are drawing a new kind of explorer as countries across the region increasingly open their seas to oil exploration.

From the Bahamas and Cuba down to Aruba and Suriname, international oil companies are lining up to locate potentially rich offshore deposits in the Caribbean. The countries hope drilling could lead to a black-gold bonanza, easing demand for imported oil and diversifying their economies.

It’s a longstanding dream for many. As the Dominican songwriter Juan Luis Guerra once sang, “If petroleum sprang from here, oh but there would be light and hope.”

So far, the twin-island nation of Trinidad & Tobago is the only major hydrocarbons producer in the Caribbean, and its waters are crowded with offshore platforms. The country sits just about seven miles (11 kilometers) off the coast of Venezuela, which has the world’s largest proven oil reserves. It’s pushing hard into deep-water drilling and has signed production-sharing contracts with British oil company BP for new exploration blocks.

A growing number of other Caribbean nations are also authorizing or at least aggressively pursuing offshore exploration.

The Bahamas recently announced it would try offshore exploratory drilling and Login to read more

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