TEGUCIGALPA -- Norway's Petroleum Geo-Services plans to explore for oil off the Caribbean coast of Honduras, according to an agreement signed in Tegucigalpa.
PGS will "lay some 10,000 kilometers (6,213 miles) of seismic lines in the territorial waters of Honduras," the office of President Mel Zelaya said in a statement.
The president and Natural Resources Minister Tomas Vaquero signed the deal with PGS vice president Michael Edwards and the company's head of new projects for Latin America, George Buzan.
The agreement is subject to approval by the Honduran Congress.
Oslo-based PGS, which specializes in geophysical research and analysis, has operations in 30 countries, with regional offices in London, Houston and Singapore.
Buzan said the geophysical studies to be conducted by PGS "will allow the evaluation of the petroleum and hydrocarbons potential of the country," according to the statement issued by Zelaya's office.
PGS will analyze information from 31 oil wells drilled by different companies before 1993 and conduct new seismic studies using a ship that will explore the Central American country's waters.
The studies conducted by PGS will be used to determine future oil concessions granted by Honduras.
Honduras "has a very great potential for energy and mineral resources" that has not been exploited, Zelaya said.
The president said the information obtained by PGS would assist "Honduras in making the decision on whether or not to exploit" the oil in Caribbean waters.
Companies from the United States, Russia, Japan, Canada and other countries have explored for oil in the Honduran Caribbean for years, but no one has yet discovered commercially viable amounts of petroleum.