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BPC given green light to drill

The government has given Bahamas Petroleum Company (BPC) the green light to work toward drilling an exploratory oil well before the end of 2020, the company said.

A senior government official confirmed that approval was given.

BPC’s shares rose on Friday after the company issued a statement on the approval, the website revealed.

“Bahamas Petroleum Company, the oil and gas exploration company with significant prospective resources in licenses in The Commonwealth of The Bahamas, is pleased to announce that the company has received formal notification from the government of The Bahamas as to the term of the second exploration period of the company’s four southern licenses in the territorial waters of The Bahamas,

confirming that the (current) second exploration period of the licenses is extended until 31 December 2020,” a statement from BPC said.

“The notification received is in response to BPC’s request for clarification from the government as to the term, timing of and work obligations pertaining to the licenses, in view of time disruptions outside of the control of the company since 2015. The notification provides clarity and certainty to all parties as to the tenure of the licenses.

“The company’s obligation during this second exploration period is to safely implement an environmentally responsible exploratory well.

“At the conclusion of this period, based on the results of the initial exploration well and in accordance with the existing terms of the licenses and the pertaining regulations, the company will have the option to apply for a production lease over all or part of the license area, and/or extend the licenses into a third exploration period and or apply for an appraisal extension.”

Proactive Investors said BPC’s shares “shot up” 25 percent after the announcement was made.

No formal announcement was made by The Bahamas government itself on the extension of the license and the obligation of BPC to drill an exploratory well before the end of 2020 as outlined by Proactive Investors.

BPC added in its statement: “The notification received from the government also stipulates that the government and BPC must in the coming months agree a forward work program for 2019 and 2020 and a reconciliation of license fees already paid, including during the period of disruption, with any future license fees due up to the end of 2020.

“The forward program will include the process for environmental authorization, in accordance with the relevant act and regulations, based upon an application already submitted by the company in April 2018.”

According to BPC’s statement, the government has enlisted the advisement services of Black & Veatch to act as a consultant on environmental issues as it relates to oil drilling.

“Black & Veatch previously advised the government in the process for the company’s environmental impact assessment (EIA), filed in 2012,” the statement said.

BPC said it continues to search for a farm-in partner that will aid in carrying out the drilling of the exploration well.

BPC CEO Simon Potter said this move by the government demystifies any ambiguity in “fact and law”.

“This position has been arrived at following extensive government consultation, and whilst this has taken the company a while to establish, there is now a very clear two-year window to advance plans for and to drill an exploratory well providing certainty to potential partners as we move forward in our farm-out discussions,” Potter said.

“Today’s news will add considerable impetus to this process. BPC’s focus remains singular: to implement an exploratory well on its highly prospective assets in The Bahamas to the benefit of shareholders and the people of The Bahamas.

“We are encouraged by the support the government has shown throughout this process, thank them for it and look forward to updating shareholders on further progress when appropriate.”

Chester Robards

Senior Business Reporter at The Nassau Guardian
Chester Robards rejoined The Nassau Guardian in November 2017 as a senior business reporter. He has covered myriad topics and events for The Nassau Guardian.
Education: Florida International University, BS in Journalism
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