PM updates on Belize City Civic Centre, national economy, and oil

vlcsnap-2013-09-25-09h14m57s99The Government of Belize, through the Belize Infrastructure Works Limited have resumed a complete overhaul of the Belize City Civic Centre.  During his Independence Day address, Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow updated the nation on the 30 million dollar project.

Prime Minister Dean Barrow:

vlcsnap-2013-09-25-10h21m56s72“Those of you from Belize City, when you pass you will see a giant crane in the yard of the old Civic Centre.  That signals that the dismantling of that old Civic Centre has also commenced, in preparation for the building of the new multipurpose complex on the same sight.  The cost is expected to be  thirty million dollars, for a state of the arts structure.  This money will be provided solely by the Government of Belize.  The new Civic Centre construction will be handled by the Belize Infrastructure Limited, the special purpose vehicle, chartered and owned by Government, but with seats that we have given on the board to the National Trades Union Congress of Belize and to the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry, to ensure absolute transparency.”  

Also during the Prime Minister’s Independence Day address he mentioned latest efforts to find petroleum as the panacea to the country’s problems. Here is that portion of the address.

Prime Minister Dean Barrow:

“Here, the headline news is that unemployment is down.   While GDP growth, no doubt, in view of the incredibly high bar set in 2012 is flat year over year for the first half of 2013, the jobless figure fell from 14% to 12%.   The drags on growth between January and June came as a result of a sharper than expected deceleration in oil extraction, lower citrus production and a decline in energy generation.   With respect to petroleum exploration though, it is worth to mention that a second well, dug in Hill Bank by MARANCO, just like the first, showed the presence of oil in relative abundance.   The difficulty is to viably bring the oil to the surface in circumstances where the rock formation in terms of permeability is challenging.   But the experts feel it can be done.   So, there is still optimism that the find will prove commercial”.

As you heard, there are expected to be difficulties in retrieving the petroleum from the area in question. With more here is Minister responsible for Energy, Senator Joy Grant.  

Hon. Joy Grant- Senator and Minister of Technology:

vlcsnap-2013-09-25-10h21m39s171The Prime Minister was very correct, because this is information we got both from the company and from our experts in the Geology Department, who we of course rely on for up to date information.  What happened is that after the first find, the company is given eighteen months to do additional drilling, seismic work, and also  to do the tests necessary, to determine whether the oil can be extracted.  As the Prime Minister said, we know that there is commercial oil in this area.  It’s always a cost-benefit analysis. It will be more expensive because of the rock formation to get this oil out.  So that is what the company is doing right now.  They are looking at what it will cost using the most advanced technologies available to get this oil out.  In the meantime what we have done is, we’ve sent what is called a core sample  overseas, where they are doing analysis to determine the type of petroleum and to advise us.

Senator Grant says that efforts continue in other areas and the Government has not given up on Toledo and U.S. Capital Energy’s seismic testing in the Sarstoon Temash National Park despite expected delays.

Hon. Joy Grant- Senator and Minister of Technology:

“You know we have, for example I choose one, U.S. Capital that’s the way seismic work and it is now raining, so I believe  that will delay some of the information that we need to see whether there is going to be a commercial find there.   But we continue. Unless we are doing seismic work, we will  never know what we have in Belize.  So we continue to do that, being always cognizant of the fact that we have to preserve the environment in a most sustainable manner.“

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