Drilling for Oil & Gas and the Ordinance regarding Competition

Armstrong Oil & Gas, is there progress?

A few days ago, at the press conference, the Minister of Labor and Integration who happens to be the Minister of Energy mentioned that by the end of June 2024, he would have more information on the progress of Armstrong Oil & Gas regarding the offshore area of Aruba.

Armstrong has a Study & Option Agreement going with GOA allowing Armstrong access to all archived materials, from past 4 exploration wells, 3D and 2D seismic surveys, well cuttings, and consultant reports etc. The comment almost went under the radar, but one of my readers listened intently, and paid attention.

In the past we were told that Armstrong International identified three areas suitable for gas exploration in the island’s north-east. The company will drill in our territorial water, and according to their sources the prospects are good.

Armstrong International is a subsidiary of Armstrong Oil and Gas Inc. with experience in both, in the USA, including Alaska. The independent privately held company explores and produces oil and natural gas. The company was incorporated in 1985 and is based in Denver. Their website only flaunts the logoed cover page, no other content.

Aruba dreams of getting rich fast, every few years, and with the above agreement we are drilling and dreaming. This is how the narrative goes, when elections are on the horizon: the drilling looks very promising; We are selling the refinery to a very reliable, and cash rich buyer; We are going to be the first 100% sustainable country in the world; This will cause no harm to our ecosystem, we will have no oil leaks, no spillage, no contamination, no pollution, zero environmental impact.

Aruba is a magical island and repeatedly when elections are upcoming, we hear great news from our fearless leaders.


AFTA, Aruba Fair Trade Authority Presentation: New authority, new opportunities

We went to UA this week for a presentation by Martijn Snoep, the director of the new independent government entity, AFTA. I hope he is a better lawyer than speaker.

His new government entity is entrusted with our protection against monopolies. The goal of the recently enacted competition law, he explained, in effect since January 2024, is the protection of the process of competition between companies for the benefit of the Aruban consumers.

Competition, he says, is a positive market force, it leads to a more efficient use of resources, lower prices, higher quality, and increased innovation.

If competition leads to unwanted outcomes, the democratically elected legislator should correct these flaws. Competition works in all markets, he adds, regardless of their size, level of sophistication, maturity, or geography.

We can already report two positive developments. Real Estate agencies abandoned their 5% or 6% commission hold on the market. From now on the unwritten internal agreement between Aruba’s real estate agents, designed to keep commission high, at a 5% or 6% level, is no longer valid, and they would in the future agree among themselves how to split commissions. Each agency now decides on its own commission structure.

There are about 150 AAR members on the island.

(AAR= Association of Aruban Realtors)

True to its promise to check on monopolistic practices, AFTA invited SETAR for a meeting to verify that it follows the ordinance regarding competition that prohibits, among other things, the abuse of a position of power.

AFTA started with Setar, a government entity, which enjoys a dominant position on the island. That move is welcome, because the merchant community was concerned that scrutiny will only be exercised in the private sector.

CUA, Aruba’s merchant association wants AFTA to also look at how government companies operate.

AFTA reports considering capacity limits and the impact of possible violations, on the people of Aruba.

Among its other goals, AFTA wants to educate and inform companies and hold them accountable for violations. Welcome to the age of the Ordinance regarding Competition.


Check out their website:

New authority, new opportunities – AFTA


Share on:

May 22, 2024
Rona Coster