BPC to drill by December

BPC hoping to recover 1.44 billon barrels of oil

Bahamas Petroleum Company (BPC) plans to spud its first well in The Bahamas less than a week before Christmas 2020, the company announced Friday, adding that it contracted Stena Drilling’s Stena IceMAX vessel to carry out the drilling of the Perseverance #1 oil well in the southern Bahamas.

BPC said in a press statement on its website that the drillship is scheduled to arrive in The Bahamas on about December 15, and drilling could begin three to four days later. 

At the Perseverance #1 site, the company is hoping to recover, on the upside, 1.44 billion barrels of oil.

“The Stena IceMAX is one of the most advanced drill ships in the world, dynamically positioned and dual mast drillship designed specifically for safe and efficient operations in a wide variety of drilling conditions,” the statement said.

“The drillship facilities include a managed pressure drilling (MPD) system integrated into the ship, to maximize the safety integrity of operations and optimize the pace of drilling through anticipated reservoir formations.

“Given confirmation of the anticipated arrival time for the IceMAX in the field, project implementation, previously defined and ongoing in March 2020 prior to the COVID-19-related postponement of work, will now be reactivated to align with a spud in approximately three months.”

Chief Executive Officer of BPC Simon Potter said that reestablishment of BPC’s plans was a “straightforward matter” given that the company was prepared to begin its exploratory well in March, before the global pandemic forced the company to postpone.

“In March 2020, the company was within weeks of commencing the drilling of the Perseverance #1 well when compelled to defer operations due to the anticipated impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Potter said.

“With the clarity of the anticipated delivery date of the Stena IceMAX into the field, this work can now be reactivated against a detailed timetable and progressed. I very much look forward to updating shareholders in the coming months as we get closer to drilling.”

BPC was under obligation to drill an exploratory well by the end of 2020, but COVID-19 presented the company with an extension on that obligation “based upon declaration of force majeure occasioned by the Bahamian and global response to the COVID-19 virus pandemic”.

The force majeure extension, which is for of three and a half months, has already been agreed on between BPC and the government of The Bahamas, and extends the company’s exploration period to mid-April 2021. But, that timeline could be further extended.

BPC added that it is engaged with Stena to ensure safety against COVID-19 transmission on its drill site.

“BPC has consulted with global medical experts in the formulation of a COVID-19 safe operating plan, and is working closely with Stena Drilling on planning its detailed implementation,” the company said.

“Stena Drilling is currently operating successfully in a number of other locations with COVID-19 mitigation strategies in place that include initial health status screening questionnaires, regular temperature checking and repeated PCR antigen detection tests.

“Stena Drilling has advised that, notwithstanding continuous operations, zero infections have been documented to date.”

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Chester Robards

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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