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The Cayman Islands are a British Overseas Territory in the western Caribbean Sea. They include the 3 islands of Grand Cayman, which is by far the largest, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman. They lie south of Cuba and northwest of Jamaica and are part of the Greater Antilles.

The islands were uninhabited until the 17th century when European pirates, refugees, shipwrecked sailors and deserters began to settle there. The first recorded permanent inhabitant of the Cayman Islands dates from 1661.

England took control (through Jamaica) after the Treaty of Madrid in 1670 and a permanent English-speaking population dates from 1730. In addition many African slaves were brought to the islands before slavery was abolished in 1833.

The Caymans were governed as part of the Colony of Jamaica until 1962 when they became a separate Crown Colony of the UK.

The Islands have historically been a tax-exempt destination and the territory is known as a financial haven for the wealthy. The government relies on indirect taxes from tourism and financial services. In 2004 Grand Cayman was devastated by Hurricane Ivan but was quickly rebuilt.

The Cayman Islands are the peaks of an underwater ridge, known as the Cayman Rise flanking the Cayman Trough. All three islands were formed as coral reefs on this ridge and are mostly low-lying although the bluff on Cayman Brac rises to 43m.

This geology is not suitable for the generation and accumulation of commercial volumes of oil and gas. Thus the Cayman Islands have no identified indigenous oil or gas resources, either onshore or offshore.

Globalshift believes the islands are unlikely to achieve any production in the future. No exploration wells have ever been drilled in the territory.


Map and National Flag


Island from the air

Brief history of the territory (UK)

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Cayman Islands

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Land area (sq kms)

Oil prod (000s b/d)

Gas prod (bcm/yr)

Oil cons (000s b/d)

Gas cons (bcm/yr)


George Town

0.06 mm






The Cayman Islands are a self-governing British overseas territory. A Governor is appointed by the UK monarch and a 20-seat Legislative Assembly is elected every 4 years. Seven members are chosen as ministers in a Cabinet headed by the Governor. The Premier is appointed by the Governor. The Deputy Governor must be a Caymanian.

There is no government department specifically responsible for oil and gas resources.

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