TEGUCIGALPA – Canadian and Japanese firms are interested in exploring for petroleum in the Caribbean off the Honduran coast starting next year, officials said this week.
Presidential adviser Nelson Avila told reporters that the Canadian firm Oracle Energy is interested in Honduras, and that he met with representatives of the company last week in the capital.
Meanwhile, a mission of experts from Japan is scheduled to arrive in Honduras on Dec. 17 to analyze the possibility of starting petroleum exploration in the La Mosquitia region in eastern Honduras, as well as in the Caribbean on the border with Nicaragua.
Regarding the Canadian multinational, its adviser Fredy Matute said that the firm would be prepared to invest some $60 million in the project.
If there are no complication s or setbacks, next year the company could be producing some 18,000 barrels of crude per day in the region, Matute said, although so far no firm is yet doing any exploration.
The Japanese would be trying to follow up on several recent studies that discussed the existence of potential crude deposits off the Honduran coast.
Deputy Energy Mi nister Valerio Gutiérrezsaid exploration with new technology would be initiated if the existence of crude oil in profitable quantities can be confirmed, and that could be done by mid-2008.
On Sept. 3, 1999, three Russian geologists confirmed in Tegucigalpa that Honduras has an “immense quantity” of petroleum reserves.
U.S. firms have been talking about that possibility in Honduras since the 1940s. Some U.S. companies drilled a few wells in the 1970s and ’80s but they always said that the quantity of crude they found was not sufficient to make its extraction profitable.