Global professional services firm Aon and insurance market Lloyd’s of London have confirmed that Bahamas Petroleum Company’s (BPC) exploration well, Perseverance #1, is insured for risks associated with the oil drilling underway 90 miles off Andros.
The confirmation came after a coalition of environmental groups claimed the insurance was not in place.
An Aon spokesperson confirmed to Guardian Business that BPC is in fact insured through its company, through a series of Lloyd’s syndicates.
“We can confirm that we placed an insurance program, as permitted by the Bahamian government, for Bahamas Petroleum Company PLC for the risks associated with the drilling of their Perseverance #1 well,” the spokesperson said.
“The program has been placed with various Lloyd’s syndicates and other approved insurers and complies with industry standards.”
Our Island Our Future (OIOF), the group at the helm of a movement to stop BPC’s exploratory well drilling efforts, recently stated in a press release that it reached out to Lloyd’s of London to confirm the veracity of BPC’s claim that it has been insured by Lloyd’s.
OIOF claimed it received a response from a Lloyd’s senior officer who stated: “At present, we don’t have any record that this risk is being underwritten in the Lloyd’s market.”
However, in an email seen by this paper, Lloyd’s Senior Business Partner for Public Relations and External Affairs Annie Roberts confirmed to Insure Our Future (IOF), an American ally of OIOF, that the insurer does in fact carry a policy for BPC.
“I can confirm that an insurance program has been placed with various Lloyd’s syndicates,” Roberts said.
In response to that confirmation, IOF, in a statement, rebuked Lloyd’s decision to insure the oil explorer and called on the company to review and revoke the insurance policies.
“Having previously sent mixed messages, Lloyd’s has now clarified they are insuring BPC’s offshore oil drilling project in The Bahamas,” the statement noted.
“New oil and gas projects are completely incompatible with limiting global warming to 1.5°C. Lloyd’s needs to do better. They published their first environmental, social and governance report in December, but clearly they have a long way to go to become a truly sustainable insurance market. We will be campaigning strongly to persuade Lloyd’s to drop this project.”
Before both Aon and Lloyd’s provided proof of BPC’s insurance late last week, IOF released a statement calling on the heads of Lloyd’s to explain how this coverage fits within its policy to engage in “responsible underwriting and investment to help accelerate society’s transition from fossil fuel dependency, towards renewable energy sources”.
IOF further said in its statement: “Regardless of insurance provision, this new offshore exploratory oil drilling project in The Bahamas is ill-conceived and should not go ahead due to the multiple serious climate, environmental and governance issues it presents.
“Overall, this ill-conceived project threatens environmental destruction and climate disaster. We call on the government of The Bahamas to transparently provide all documentation relating to this project and take urgent action to halt the drilling.”
Guardian Business sought to clarify BPC’s insurance debacle Thursday through the Office of the Prime Minister, who referred us to the attorney general, who referred us to the minister of environment and housing, who has not responded up to press time yesterday.