Promising Oil and Gas Opportunities in the Caribbean

The Caribbean currently offers an unprecedented number of hydrocarbon exploration opportunities, with promising potential in Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Honduras, Nicaragua and The Bahamas.
This article appeared in Vol. 16, No. 4 - 2019


Promising Oil and Gas Exploration Opportunities in the Caribbean

The Caribbean currently offers an unprecedented number of hydrocarbon exploration opportunities, with active license rounds in Cuba and the Dominican Republic; plus extensive open acreage available for direct negotiation across Jamaica, Honduras, and Nicaragua. Farm-in opportunities are also available in The Bahamas.

The complex tectonic history of this relatively underexplored region has produced numerous hydrocarbon plays, with reservoirs ranging from Oxfordian Norphlet Formation aeolian sandstones and Cretaceous limestones, to Tertiary foreland basin clastics. Subduction and oblique collision during the Late Cretaceous to present day has produced a series of docked island arcs with thrusted Jurassic carbonate platforms and ophiolites, creating many potential structural traps.

Recent work on the Nicaraguan Rise indicates that the Eocene Punta Gorda Formation is a potentially prominent source rock, reaching up to 600m in thickness, with TOCs ranging from 0.85 to 3.4 wt%. An Aptian to Albian-age bituminous limestone also has oil-generating potential in this region. Recent onshore seep discoveries from Cretaceous sources confirm the presence of an active petroleum system on Jamaica.

Mounting research and increased accessibility will further encourage the development of this emergent region. Earthmoves’ Northern Caribbean Digital Atlas provides a detailed analysis on the northern Caribbean’s geology and hydrocarbon potential; visit the Earthmoves website for further details.

Further Reading on Oil and Gas Activity in the Caribbean

Some recommended GEO ExPro articles relating to oil and gas exploration and production in the Caribbean.

The Hydrocarbon Potential of the Dominican Republic
Ministry of Energy and Mines, Dominican Republic with support of Wood Mackenzie
The Dominican Republic has just announced its first licensing round, which concludes in December 2019. With fourteen blocks available on and offshore, a flexible contract and an attractive investment environment, the nation is set to open up the Caribbean to new oil and gas exploration opportunities.
This article appeared in September, 2019

Yet Another Final Frontier? Honduras
Chris Matchette-Downes
Following on from his article about the prospectivity of Jamaica in GEO ExPro, Vol. 7, No. 6 Chris Matchette-Downes moves westward to take a look at the eastern part of the Central American country of Honduras. He argues that the petroleum geology, particularly potential source rocks, has important similarities – but exploiting any hydrocarbons is not going to be easy.
This article appeared in GEO ExPro iPad App 9 - 2013

Buried Treasure in Jamaica
Chris Machette-Downes
The beautiful Caribbean Island of Jamaica was home to pirates and their loot in the past, but is there treasure of a different sort in its sparkling waters? Data collated for a new bid round, due to close in March 2011, suggests that there may well be.
This article appeared in Vol. 7, No. 6 - 2010


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