BPC to offer mutual fund investment option to Bahamian public

Bahamas Petroleum Company (BPC) yesterday announced its plan to offer Bahamian investors an opportunity to participate in the ownership of the company via a mutual fund.

BPC noted that following the clarification of its license term with the government in February and ahead of its exploratory drill-start target of March 2020, now is an opportune time to offer investment options to the Bahamian public.

“In conjunction with its advisors, the company will be seeking to develop and implement a Bahamas-domiciled mutual fund investment vehicle with the sole mandate of owning BPC shares. Thus it is intended that through this mutual fund, Bahamians will be able to invest in the company and thus in the exploration and potential development of hydrocarbon resources in The Bahamas. To this end the company has engaged Leno Corporate Services Limited, a Bahamian investment services and fund management firm, to act as its adviser for this purpose,” BPC stated in a press release.

“The company expects that, following a further process of consultation with Leno and various administrators in The Bahamas, details of the proposed mutual fund, including the terms, how investors’ interests in BPC would be reflected, eligibility, anticipated time frame and manner of subscription, will be confirmed in the coming weeks.”

This comes just a couple of weeks after BPC announced it was successful in raising almost $25 million it needs to drill an exploratory oil well in the southern Bahamas in the first half of 2020.

BPC hopes to have an exploratory well drilled before July and thinks the rock structures beneath The Bahamas have the potential for four billion barrels of oil.

BPC also provided an update on its environmental authorization (EA) process, which is a mandatory step before drilling can proceed.

BPC submitted its EA application in April 2018, which was reviewed by external consultant advisors to the Bahamas Environment, Science and Technology (BEST) Commission, Black & Veatch (B&V). That advisor sought to identify any gaps in the EA documentation provided by BPC and then later appointed another international environmental adviser to work with the company in finalizing the relevant EA documentation, so as to address any gap identified by B&V.

“A major part of the work being undertaken pertains to incorporating into the EA documentation detailed data unique and specific to the actual rig that will undertake the planned drilling activity. Substantial elements of the document, submitted in April 2018 contained, of necessity, only generalized data of a ‘hypothetical rig’ that could be utilized to carry out the drilling operations. However, now that BPC is working with Seadrill, specific data from the rig that will be mobilized to the field is available and can be included as part of the application update. This data includes, in particular, technical details, equipment lists, standard operating procedures and response plans specific to that rig,” BPC noted.

“All parties are working collaboratively on the task of concluding all work necessary for the finalization of the EA in early Q1 2020, so as to meet a timeline developed in conjunction with BEST and government directive and consistent with drilling activities scheduled to commence as planned in late Q1 2020.”

BPC also intends to undertake an environmental baseline survey as a part of the EA process, that would determine the baseline conditions (biological, chemical, physical) at the proposed drilling location, against which any potential effects of future operations can be detected and measured.

BPC engaged environmental consulting firm CSA Ocean Sciences to develop and submit a terms of reference document, which was approved by the BEST Commission.

“Following a detailed review and consultation with their appointed external consultants, the terms of reference were approved by BEST and two specific permits issued: the first (issued by the BEST Commission on behalf of the Ministry of Environment and Housing) allowing for the collection of necessary samples; and the second (issued by the Ministry of Agriculture) allowing for the export of those samples for analysis purposes,” BPC stated.

“In the coming weeks, CSA will proceed to deploy the necessary vessel to the site to commence the physical work of sample collection and thereafter proceed to the detailed biological, chemical and physical analysis of samples collected, as required and agreed with the government.”

Chief Executive Officer of the Bahamas Petroleum Company Simon Potter said, “The timely receipt of requisite approvals from the government means we have been able to commence a critical piece of preparatory work ahead of drilling activities: the collection of a comprehensive range of samples necessary to demonstrate the current ambient conditions at the proposed drill site.

“This will allow a direct assessment of any potential impact from our planned activities, noting that those activities by their very nature will be for a short, temporary duration, close to the international maritime border with Cuba, in a location which is an active marine thoroughfare serving both the existing petroleum facilities in The Bahamas as well as the entire region. We remain on track to see drilling commence on schedule.”

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Paige McCartney

Paige joined The Nassau Guardian in 2010 as a television news reporter and anchor. She has covered countless political and social events that have impacted the lives of Bahamians and changed the trajectory of The Bahamas. Paige started working as a business reporter in August 2016. Education: Palm Beach Atlantic University in 2006 with a BA in Radio and Television News

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