Princess Oil has given up all those oil exploration blocks near the Blue Hole, Turneffe Atoll and Lighthouse Reef, which it held under its production sharing agreement with the Government of Belize, the company announced in a press release on Monday, November 19.

The Department of Geology had accepted the company's proposal to relinquish the exploration blocks on Monday, November 12.

"The Blue Hole area is one of Belize's priceless natural treasures and we stand ready to assist in any way to protect and preserve the country's natural reef system," said Princess Oil's Chief Executive Officer Hamdi Karagozoglu.

He added that the company had done no exploration work in this eco-sensitive area, and therefore had no knowledge if it had any potential to produce hydrocarbons.

The release goes on to say that the company "will continue to adopt only those techniques and methods that are environmentally safe while exploring for and producing hydrocarbon in Belize and elsewhere."

It also expressed the belief "that Belize has a great potential for oil and gas production and that it is possible to harness those resources without compromising the country's eco-systems, including the natural barrier reef.

Princess Oil is one of six companies that Oceana Belize has listed in its court action against the government of Belize to cancel the companies' oil exploration concessions on the grounds that they have failed to comply with the terms of the production sharing agreements.

The Reporter