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The Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) is a British Overseas Territory comprising 2 island groups (separated by the Turks Passage) in the Lucayan Archipelago, north of the Greater Antilles and southeast of the Bahamas. There are 8 main islands and 299 smaller ones.

Original inhabitants were Taino Arawaks who migrated from Hispaniola and Cuba from 500 AD. Spain landed in Grand Turk in 1512 and enslaved the entire population. No settlements were established until 1680 when salt collectors from Bermuda arrived.

From 1765 the islands were under French occupation. In 1783 British loyalists settled on the Caicos islands growing cotton and developing a salt industry. In 1799 both island groups were then annexed by the UK as part of the Bahamas. Slavery was soon prohibited in 1807.

In 1848 the Turks and Caicos became a separate colony. Unified with Jamaica in 1873 they were again separated in 1959 although keeping the governor of Jamaica. In 1962 they were awarded the status of a Crown Colony but governed by the Bahamas.

In 1973 the islands became fully self governing. Home rule was suspended from 2009 to 2012 after allegations of corruption. Meanwhile Canada has regularly proposed annexation of the islands.

The Turks and Caicos are geologically linked to the Bahamas within the Lucayan Archipelago. The islands are low-lying limestone build-ups with extensive swamps. They were formed as refs on volcanic basement.

This geology is not suitable for the generation and accumulation of commercial volumes of oil and gas onshore. Offshore deep water basins may have some potential, particularly for gas, but the country is unlikely to achieve any production in the short and medium term.

No output has been forecast by Globalshift and no exploration wells have ever been drilled in the territory, onshore or offshore.



Map and National Flag


Group of lizards

Brief history of the territory (UK)

Central America

Turks and Caicos

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Land area (sq kms)

Oil prod (000s b/d)

Gas prod (bcm/yr)

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Gas cons (bcm/yr)


Grand Turk

0.03 mm






The Turks and Caicos Islands are a British Overseas Territory with the UK monarch as head of state represented by an appointed governor on the advice of the Foreign Office.

A new constitution in 2012 gave legislative power to a 19-member unicameral House of Assembly, of which 15 are elected.

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

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