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Jun 6, 2005

Drillers optimistic but no oil yet

Story PictureThe rumour mill was in high gear today…no, not about politics, credit ratings or long lists of fired contract officers. No, today’s gossip concerned oil. That’s right–black gold, Texas Tea… all allegedly gushing from a well being drilled in Spanish Lookout. Well, like most rumours, this one had a kernel of truth. There is a well being drilled, and the operators are optimistic about finding oil… but no, as of yet not so much as a thimble full of petroleum has emerged from the hole. Today News Five’s Patrick Jones visited the site and spoke to the people in charge.

Jean Cornec, Geologist
?The geological environment here is very different from anything else that have been tested before in Belize, because the Spanish Lookout area is located within a very broad valley which is about twenty kilometres north-south and maybe forty kilometre east-west, all the way from the Guatemalan border to the Valley of Peace and from the Yalbac Hills to the Barton Creek Hills. It is a basin that is filled with clay. Clay being the result of the weathering of volcanic ash many, many millions of years ago that has settled in the valley. So they are very, very thick and this is a very unique situation to the whole of Belize. Clay has a very peculiar property in that it does not let any liquid go through.?

Paul Marriott, Managing Dir., P.R. Marriott Drilling
?All the indications we have got to date is exactly what the geologists have predicted. It?s the first time in Belize where the structure of this nature, an anticline combined with a clay seal has been drilled. There have been fifty wells drilled in Belize over the last forty, fifty years, but none in this kind of structure. They have all been missing it. Once this well is drilled, if we have a discovery we hope to extend the well field and step out and drill forty, fifty acres spaces. All indications we?ve got is that there is a significant amount of oil.?

Sheila McCaffery, Director, Belize Natural Energy
?We?re just praying at the moment that everything that we think is here will be here. One well is never going to give us a production field. We?re going to have to step out from this well; we?re going to have to spend a lot more dollars doing that. We?ve spent in the region of six million dollars between the seismic and the drilling of this well, we will probably need to spend another fifteen million dollars before we can get into a production environment. The one thing we have to do is prove that what is here is economic.?

By late this afternoon, the drill bit had reached a depth of six hundred feet and was still going through clay. The drilling rig averages forty feet per hour and works around the clock. We’ll have more on the latest search for petroleum on tomorrow’s newscast.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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