The Government of Trinidad and Tobago has accepted bid recommendations for six of eight onshore oil and gas exploration blocks, inching closer to announcing exploration licences, reported Reuters, citing sources.

The exploration awards, which aim to address the Caribbean nation’s declining oil and gas production, could be announced as early as this week.

A sizable portion of its earnings comes from the export of gas and petrochemicals.

According to the sources, the nation’s cabinet decided to grant licences last week on the recommendation of Trinidad and Tobago Energy Minister Stuart Young.

Domestic company A&V Oil and Gas was recommenced for the St Mary’s block.

The Cipero block was given to Touchstone Exploration, the Tulsa block to Eco Oil and Gas Solutions, and Challenger Energy was recommenced to explore the Guayaguayare block, the sources said.

A request for comment from Challenger was not answered.

Touchstone chief executive Paul Baay said: “If what is reported is true, Touchstone is happy that we got the Cipero block because that was our number one.”

The sources added that Trinity Exploration & Production will receive the Buenos Aires block while Nabi Construction (Trinidad and Tobago) will receive the Aripero block.

Nabi and Eco could not be reached to comment on the development.

The number of wells proposed and readiness to carry out seismic research were taken into account to choose the winning bids.

According to the sources, some winners also consented to pay signing bonuses.

The energy ministry plans to continue talks with the businesses that submitted bids for the two unawarded blocks to see if they might increase their prices, the news agency said, citing cabinet sources.