For several years now the government of Belize has been trying to develop their petroleum production resources after oil was discovered in western Belize. Several wells were drilled there and have been producing oil which is exported to the US to be refined. The revenues for the government generated from this activity have been a real boon to Belize.
The government then proceeded to issue licenses to oil companies to further explore the country for possible new oil discoveries, and since the Gulf and Yucatan region have been very productive in producing oil, many companies snapped up these licenses and have been doing seismic testing all over mainland Belize. The government also issued off shore drilling licenses, which were very contentious since any offshore drilling would despoil the country’s famous barrier reef and islands, the country’s primary tourism resource. Many environmental activists mounted protest campaigns which have been going on for many years. They were able to enlist the help of powerful allies in seeking to convince the government that offshore drilling would hurt the county’s largest industry, tourism.
It was announced early last week that these efforts have been partially successful, as per the news story below.