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Feb 25, 2011

Oceana says offshore drilling won’t pay G.O.B.’s super bond

The contract aside, Matura Shepherd says that contrary to government claims, offshore drilling cannot potentially bail the country out of the super bond debt.

Audrey Matura Shepherd, VP, Oceana Belize

Audrey Matura Shepherd

“Our people are being told that if we do offshore, we’ll get big money. And I am saying to the people, even if we find the oil, there will be some money it’s not going to come overnight. And then when we see the propaganda from the government that this money is needed to pay off a super bond, I have two things to say to that: look at the time line; we won’t be able to use that money when we get it because we won’t get it immediately to pay off no super bond immediately and two; I would want the Belizean people to thin, if we are getting money from oil which we put at risk our resources, would we want to throw our pearls to swines? Wouldn’t we want our oil money to put in specific funds or trust to deal with the betterment of the country? Why should we take that money and put it there? What then if we never find oil? You mean the government doesn’t have another plan on how to pay off that super bond?

“What Oceana has done is on the issue of offshore, we took an example. For example we look at Island Oil and we looked at the contract which is similar to the contract of Princess except that one was signed in 2007 and one was signed 2005 and we looked at what the law says and that is how we came up with our timeline. It is not untrue when we say that the exploration period can be up to eight years. If you allow me, I just want to quickly refer to the contract. I am reading out of Princess Contract. The contract gives you up to eight years to explore. Let’s say by the fifth or the sixth year you find something, that’s two years less for exploration, but you still have to factor in another five or six years to develop because the truth is none of these companies have the money. The experts were telling us a well put together platform for exploration is at least three billion dollars. None of these companies have three billion dollars to come and start investing on development. So that means they would have had to have show that through their exploration well that they have found enough oil and they’ve done an appraisal well to test that there is a big enough oil field. Then go to some institution, some bank abroad and convince them to lend us money so that we can improve this investment because see our data shows that there is oil. That won’t happen overnight either. Anybody who is involved in that kind of multimillion dollar business will tell you that it takes a while for you to take everything and persuade a bank and other investors to invest. It is not like onshore.

“Why do we say we will not see actually see any money until about 2027 or 2028? Why? Because, indulge me again Marion, Article 9 of the contract, and I am reading Princess’—this is your recovery. It comes over the heading called, “Recover of Petroleum Operations Expenditure” and it tells you clear. In each calendar year after discharging its obligations for royalty, the contract shall be entitled to [and shall means must in law] recover all petroleum expenditures incurred hereunder out of one hundred percent of the petroleum produced and saved in calendar year. Plus all unrecovered petroleum operation expenditures from prior calendar year. You know what that means, for those eight years you were exploring and the five years you were developing, you are entitled to recover that money for each calendar year out of what you are making now as profits. So yes you will be paying some taxes, yes you will be paying some royalty but because you are entitled to subtract that expense first, we will not be seeing some tangible amount of money ’til about—so we are about 2020, ‘til another seven or eight years. That is the mathematical calculations. We are not making that up and that is if you even find oil. And that is why we are saying if you are going to start seeing tangible money—we didn’t say you wouldn’t see any money, but some real money now finally coming to us—it won’t be ‘til 2027 or maybe 2028 and the super bond matures in 2029.”

Oceana will be holding a street side event at its office on Regent Street on Saturday morning from ten to answer questions and collect signatures to present to the Governor General against offshore drilling.  The organization is looking to get the signatures of seventeen thousand voters, which represents ten percent of the total number of registered voters.  Matura says that they already have a few thousand signatures.

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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12 Responses for “Oceana says offshore drilling won’t pay G.O.B.’s super bond”

  1. Storm says:

    1. How does anyone approve offshore drilling in Belize, a UN World Heritage Site?

    2. How does anyone DARE approve offshore drilling after what happened in the States last year, with oil gushing into their Gulf unchecked for months? It would bankrupt the country to fight such a disaster. For what? A few pennies of tax and 30 pieces of silver to politicians.

  2. julz says:

    i dont even have to read the article to say whats up with our people… shore drilling should be a no no……we are dreaming if we think we will benefit from this…the bigger heads will full up their pockets while we still have to pay gas rates…..think for second people belize is a jewel dont mess that up.

  3. rigrat says:

    Again we see more deception from Oceana. It doesn’t take three billion dollars to put in a platform and a pipeline from a shallow offshore well. It also doesn’t have to take this amount of time to develop a find. Today the technology is to bring in an FPSO (floating production storage and offtake) vessel and you can be producing oil within a week of finding it.

    There is not a single oil company with an agreement to look offshore Belize for oil that wants to drill anywhere near the reef. The chances of anything going wrong are smaller than Belize being hit by a meteorite. This is just so much nonsense being spouted to raise awareness of someone’s pet project and too much time is being spent on this non issue.

    Belize has serious problems with crime, domestic violence, destruction of mangrove, destruction of the reef by tourists, destruction of the rain forest by slash and burn and Xateros. Oil discovery can only bring benefits, jobs, and alleviate poverty a little.

    I have been blessed that as a Belizean, I have been able to be trained many years ago, and have now climbed to the top of the oil industry. I have drilled all over the world, and we never cause the damage that Audrey says we will bring for sure. Wake up Belizeans, you are being told a lot of nonsense.

  4. Diego says:

    Come on Belize this people from the top do not worry about us. they all worry on them self how to get more rich and more rich please do not support no drilling.

  5. Diego says:

    and do not think that this money will pay the super bond. I am more sure that this money will more likely disappear in the future

  6. Stan says:

    Audrey Matura is OK she makes US$140,000+ a year at Oceana. She is just like any politician. THey say what their paymasters tell them to say even if they know what they are saying is harmful. I would believe her if she was not paid big money to say what she keeps on saying. I would take her seriously if she ran a grass roots organization. I have my suspicions whenever some one is paid to promote a certain cause even if the cause is a good cause. There is still that lingering ulterior motive.

  7. DS says:

    You got the idea Stan. Congrats on rising above the stupid masses. Most people can barely see beyond their noses. I wont take anyside. The adminstration has vested interest and so do the so called environmentalists. Niether care about the stupid masses and so it will be. There is no solution. None!!!! No Goverment is good and no orgazation is good. ALL systems are corrupt at the core. There is always an ulterior motive. Trust NO ONE. Sleep with yoiur own eyes.

  8. Darren says:

    Ms Matura look like freshly printed money. Oceana mussi pay good fi tru.

  9. Audrey Matura-Shepherd says:

    It is a pity that some have decide to get personal and forget the real issue is oil exploration and drilling – a decision once made that will stay with us and our children . For the curious do go look into my finances I have nothing to hide and unlike politicians I do not take money under the table and proudly live from paycheck to paycheck paying off my student loans and see my two sons through their tertiary education. While I am a highly qualified attorney I choose to work in the public sector and civil society and not go into private practice where depending on my practice can be making “freshly printed” big bucks.

    But to the issue, I welcome rigrat to contact me at so I can share with him the contracts, legislation and government projections so he may know how we did our calculations to arrive at any figure. and also since he is a true Belizean I welcome he returns home to share his knowledge and experience in the oil industry. Its people like him we need. And for love of country I am sure he can live within the pay scale our experts at Geology Department live with… but what is most important is his ability since as he puts it he has “now climbed to the top of the oil industry”. I am sure he don’t mind climbing down to help us. I am sure he don’t mind climbing down to help us to get rid of our poverty, crime, corrupt politicians – he has the answers and we need it. do email me rigrat so we can dialogue and use your experience at home where it is needed. GOD Bless all of you.

  10. B Groovy says:

    Well said Rigrat….

  11. The People Had Enough says:

    Stan, I would like to know where you got that figure from; can you prove that she is paid t hat amount? If you are just pulling this out your @$$ then you are simply spewing propaganda and trying to defame someone who is putting her @$$ on the line no matter how much money she is making. However I would still like to know where you got those facts, if that is true then i will agree with you to some degree.

    @Rigrat, where are all the benefits and jobs from the oil we are pumping out right now? Please show me and the masses.

  12. Revolution says:

    Audrey please stop spending Oceana money talking BS on tv and money. Use that money for a feeding program or some communtity project to rescue at risk youths. Oceana is dong nothing to help improve Belize financially or socially. I bet Oceana is doing a hell of a lot for Audrey and her two boys though. Get a life Audrey. Bring in the rigs…drill baby drill.

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