History Print E-mail

History of Oil and Gas Exploration in Barbados

hour_glassMid - 1800s Commercial hydrocarbon exploration and production began with oil seeps in the Scotland District and the mining of manjak which sparked tremendous interest in the emerging oil and gas industry in Barbados.

hour_glass1848 - 1890 Geological assessments of the Scotland District were done as far back as 1848 by Schomburk and in 1890 by Harrison and James Brown, who were amongst the first geologists to attempt such a feat.

hour_glass1870s - 1890 First oil exploration took place on the East Coast by Lloyd's Oil Co. These wells were "hand dug wells", which were dug to depths of about 100 feet.

hour_glass1896 - 1915 West India Petroleum Company began operations and completed 14 machine-drilled wells ranging between 590-1600 feet and 50 hand-bored wells between 30-100 feet in the Scotland District.

hour_glass1910 E.H. Cunningham- Craig conducted geological assessments in the Scotland District to attempt to unravel the geological complexity of the Scotland District.

hour_glass1919 - 1940 British Union Oil Company began operations in Barbados and dug 51 cable tool and rotary wells and 19 small craelius (slimhole) tests. Turners Hall well No. 1 was the most profitable producing 44, 608 barrels of oil. In 1947, the company drilled a gas well, Turners Hall No. 19, which produced considerable quantities of gas and still continues to supply small quantities of gas to NPC.

hour_glass1920 - 1928 The resident geologist, A. Menzies, was the first geologist to deliver a comprehensive assessment of the geology of Scotland District. However, his findings were disregarded.

hour_glass1937 Alfred Senn expanded upon the findings of A. Menzies.

hour_glass1950 - 1955 Gulf Oil Caribbean commenced operations in Barbados. They employed some geophysical tests, but relied on Senn's work which formed the basis for their drilling programme. They drilled 6 deep wells, the deepest being 16,000 feet, but had little success.

hour_glass1960 - 1970 General Crude Oil Company took over operations and drilled 15 exploratory wells around the island including Woodbourne No.1, which marked the beginning of sustained drilling and production operations in the Woodbourne oilfiled.

hour_glass1979 Mobil Explorations Incorporated acquired the assets of General Crude and continued the Woodbourne drilling until 1982. They conducted an extensive seismic survey of the entire island which included a 3D survey in the Woodbourne Field. They also drilled six deep wells with the aim of intersecting less structurally complex oil reservoirs; however Mobil did not achieve the objective of the drilling programme and ceased operations.

hour_glass1982 Government of Barbados bought Mobil's assets and formed the Barbados National Oil Company. Mr. Larry McClennon was the first appointed General Manager of BNOC.

hour_glass1982 - 1986 Technical and financial assistance were provided by Petro-Canada and PEDVSA who undertook a major drilling campaign from January 1982 to June 1986 when 92 wells were drilled. Additionally, in 1984 Petro-Canada drilled 20 wells in the Scotland District with the aim of reviving oil production from this area.

hour_glass1985 A new satellite facility was established at Woodbourne #75.

hour_glass1987 - 1988 Propak Systems Incorporated was contracted to build the LPG plant which was officially opened by Prime Minister Hon. Erskine Sandiford in 1988. A warehouse was built the same year.

hour_glass1996 BNOC entered a Production Sharing Contract with Waggoner (Barbados) LTD.

hour_glass1998 - 1999 Between March 1998 to Feb 1999 23 wells were drilled under the Production Sharing Contract with Waggoner Barbados Limited (WBL). Also through this partnership a major fracture stimulation programme was implemented. In 1998, BNOS was instated as the Operated under a Production Sharing Contract with WBL. In that same year, BNTCL was established to manage the Petrotrin Processing Agreement between BNOC and the Petroleum Company of Trinidad and Tobago LTD. A Marketing Department was formed to assist with this agreement.

hour_glass1999 BNOCL purchased the drilling rig from Panda Drilling. BNOCL also purchased a 30% equity in Asphalt Processors Inc. (API), a local asphalt producer.

hour_glass2000 Two horizontal wells were drilled. This technique was implemented to maximise the drain areas between existing well bores. The Aurora Gas project agreement was completed with a tri-partite contract between BNOCL, WBL and Aurora Barbados Limited. In this year, BNOHL was established as a subsidiary of BNOCL to manage the property acquired by BNOCL.

hour_glass2001 The gas plant began operations. During the same year ABL sold its interest to Hanover Manufacturing Company, from Dallas, Texas. In June 2001 the Asphalt Plant was commissioned.

hour_glass2002 The contract with WBL was terminated since sustainable production levels were not achieved.

hour_glass2003 The company discontinued the production of LPG.

hour_glass2008 to DATE The amalgamation of BNOC and BNTCL began. The company also celebrated its 25th anniversary. Over the last 25 years of existence, BNOC has produced 10 million barrels of crude oil, 22.8 billion cu. ft. of associated natural gas and 274,000 barrels of LPG with 107 wells on production.




hour_glassMid - 1800s
Commercial hydrocarbon exploration and production began with oil seeps in the Scotland District and the mining of manjak which sparked tremendous interest in the emerging oil and gas industry in Barbados.