Petroleum exports will continue to decline, Government says

Posted: Friday, December 4th, 2015. 2:10 PM CST

Dr. Colin Young

Dr. Colin Young

By Aaron Humes: Former Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Energy, Science, Technology and Public Utilities which was also responsible for petroleum, Dr. Colin Young, has told the Reporter Press that oil extraction is projected to continue downward until at least 2024 if no more oil is found.

Recently the Statistical Institute of Belize (SIB) presented statistics showing that both extraction amounts and revenue from petroleum sales are at their lowest in some time.

From a high of $292 million in 2012, revenues have slowed to as low as $102 million in 2014, just above the starting point for the industry years ago. Extraction for the recent third quarter is at its lowest since 2008.

The Reporter writes that with extraction amounts decreasing every month and the world market price of oil remaining low, it is estimated that within three years the industry will be making less than it was at start up.

Dr. Young explained that the decline in the oil industry was well within the projections of Belize Natural Energy Limited, the only company to find oil in Belize – and their projections say just 1,000 barrels per day will be extracted in 2024.

“It is estimated that the decrease will continue and by 2024 it will be down to 1000 barrels per day,” Young said.

It’s not clear if any of the six companies licensed to operate in Belize still are, but only U.S. Capital Energy, working in the Toledo District, has shown any sign of promise in their area. The industry is likely headed toward unprofitability if the current trends of low world prices and falling extraction with no replacements lined up continue.

The Government this week banned offshore petroleum exploration in any part of the Belize Barrier Reef System and will set up regulations for the remaining sea area.

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