A map released in February 2010 by the Geology and Petroleum Department confirmed that massive oil exploration concessions have been granted throughout the country of Belize -- including in marine reserves and national parks.

Offshore drilling of this magnitude would be devastating to Belize’s tourism and fishing industry, our marine food security and the viability of coastal communities. Oceana believes the process should be transparent, with input from all relevant parties and the general public.

In December 2011, The Belize Coalition to Save our Natural Heritage through Oceana in Belize triggered the Referendum for offshore oil exploration and drilling by delivering over 18,000 signatures to the Governor General’s office. In a historic response, that office has informed us that the second step in the referendum process has been approved, as the 18,000 plus signatures were forwarded to the Chief Elections Officer for vetting.

The recent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has shown that even a highly developed country like the United States is not equipped to handle such a disaster. One accident could wipe out Belize’s coastline and destroy the country’s economy. It is simply not worth it to risk our beautiful barrier reef and fragile marine ecosystem.

Oceana calls on the Government of Belize to place a complete halt on all planned offshore exploration and to revoke all leases presently granted on our territorial waters. The people of Belize stand to gain very little from any oil exploration because the bulk of the wealth from oil extracted does not remain in the country. 

Oceana is also working in North America and Europe to stop the expansion of offshore drilling and promote renewable energy, such as offshore wind.