You won’t hear anything about this nation today when it comes to petroleum exploration. But it’s a place that might become a key story for oil and gas projects soon.
That’s the tiny Central American nation of Belize.
Last week the country’s Ministry of Energy affirmed that it is considering opening to exploration. Allowing oil and gas drillers for the first time to test the offshore and onshore environment here, just south of the Gulf of Mexico.
The plan was originally advanced late in 2014 — with officials saying they plan to open the entire country to exploration. And last week the government noted in a press release that it is continuing “dialogue on the issue of oil petroleum exploration onshore and offshore”.
Signaling that things are progressing when it comes to offering the first-ever licenses here.
Such a move would be significant. Belize is a tiny nation, slightly smaller than the state of Vermont — but it lies near some big and proven hydrocarbon potential.
As the map below shows, Belize is located just south of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. Where a number of significant Mexican offshore oil fields have been found.
Belize also has proven production closer at hand. With fields in neighboring Guatemala currently exporting oil via ports on the Caribbean.
There are still a lot of hurdles to meet including final government approval of the plan for offering petroleum licenses, and setting of dates and criteria for applications.
The plan for drilling is also contentious. With environmental groups already protesting against potential damage to offshore ecosystems, and tourism locales.
But if plans for licensing do gain momentum, this is a spot to keep an eye on for new projects. Watch for further announcement from the government on timing and details for licensing rounds.
Here’s to going tropical,