'Country will decide on oil exploration'


Kenred Dorsett


Tribune Staff Reporter


IN KEEPING with Prime Minister Perry Christie's announcement to put oil drilling to a national referendum, Minister of Environment and Housing Kenred Dorsett said the Bahamian people will decide if the country moves forward with oil and gas exploration.

"It is still a matter to be addressed by the Cabinet," Mr Dorsett said, "but I think that the prime minister was very clear on the path that this administration will take in relation to oil exploration in the Bahamas.

"There is a need, obviously, for there to not only be assessments but more importantly for the matter to be put to the people of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas to determine how it is that we are going to advance."

According to BPC's Annual Reports and Accounts 2011, published on the company's website on Monday, the Bahamas Government is working towards establishing a regulatory framework for gas and oil extraction.

It said: "Completion of the Bahamian elections ahead of their May 2012 deadline and timely progress towards implementation of revised laws, statutes and enabling regulations covering hydrocarbon exploration will promote accelerated activity. The Government is working to put the regulation in place to oversee oil and gas activity. We expect these regulations to be in place prior to our drilling."

Mr Dorsett said he could not comment on BPC's recent report.

"I haven't read the report so I cannot comment on any statements they have made," he said.

Tensions in regard to oil drilling in the Bahamas increased in the weeks leading up to the election after it became known that Prime Minister Christie was a former consultant for the oil company's Bahamian legal team. Mr Christie said he was hired through the law firm Davis & Co, which was headed by now Deputy Prime Minister Philip "Brave" Davis.

Graham Thompson & Co of which former PLP attorney general Sean McWeeney is a partner, is also listed on the BPC's website, as is PLP candidate for Killarney Jerome Gomez as its resident manager. However, Mr Gomez lost the Killarney constituency on May 7 to Dr. Hubert Minnis.

Earlier this week, Bahamas Petroleum Company (BPC) said they are not discouraged by the fact that recent oil testing off the coast of Cuba yielded no results.

BPC chief operating officer Paul Gucwa said while successful drilling in Cuba would have been encouraging the results do not mean there is no oil in the Bahamas, nor does it affect oil drilling efforts.

Dr Gucwa added BPC intends to drill in a different geographical area and from their research it was not unexpected that the Scarabeo-9 drilling off the northwest of Cuba hit a dry well.

"A good result in their drilling would have been good news - however, from our research it was an expected result," he said.

As indicated in BPC's Annual Reports and Accounts 2011, BPC's believes the best location for their initial well is testing "Fold B" into the upper Jurassic formation. The report said research indicates this feature has the potential for over two billion barrels of oil in the Cretaceous section.

As reported in The Miami Herald, on Friday the Spanish Respol company confirmed that the Scarabeo-9 floating drill platform found nothing in a well 20 miles northwest of Havana, Cuba.


concernedcitizen 10 years, 10 months ago

does the president of BPC have a crystal ball,before cabinent even meets he knows what they are going to do !!!!!!!!!!!! what scares me most if we have a referendom ,who will moniter it ,and will visions of oil wealth cloud peoples judgement ....if we are going to drill for oil why do we need BPC between our resources and our treasury ,why not deal directly with the company that drills ,,,PM PGC is Mr Gucwa and BPC now setting our parlamentary schedule ????????????????


Renaissance 10 years, 10 months ago

Listen guys lets go get the earl.


concernedcitizen 10 years, 10 months ago

yeah i think thats what there saying lol


TalRussell 10 years, 10 months ago

Comrade Kenred not so fast. Careful now cause you know there will be Comrades watching you’re every move and closer than white on rice with every move made by PM Christie, Brave Davis and his boys on this drilling in our Bahamaland's waters for dirty oil. First, the PM and his deputy must untie they ties with the foreigner oil boys before the natives will trust you on this one. I yet to hear a statement that you will immediately stop all forms of oil exploration? We Comrades know the proponents for this dirty oil drilling going to come before the native’s, before and during a so-called referendums, with they fancy reports to minimize the risks. We as smart as them. Right at this moment the PLP ain’t cleansed themselves enough to be trusted on this one. Get your Tide detergent out, cause you going need it o get pass our team of opposing Comrades.


concernedcitizen 10 years, 10 months ago

i get the feeling this is already decided ,now the trick is for them to get a rig down south ,,they,ll have to bring it from the south or everyone will know ,if they do have a referendum is their anyway for us the public to make sure its fair, ,there will be alot less votes cast then in a general election so to sway it either way is easier ...


Philosopher_King 10 years, 10 months ago

I believe we the people must decide and based on the current structure of the already signed deals I say no. We need to first nationalize the potential oil fields and then only then allow for more favourable terms between us and those entities who wish to join us in the exploration and exploitation of them to be negotiated. We are a small but growing nation that the diminishing returns from tourism and a stagnant banking industry will not support our nations growth. The controlled responsible drilling in limited strictly regulated zones may prove an additional boost to our development and medium term solution to our current energy crisis. We all know we can’t continue to play on the global fossil fuel markets anymore the price has become unbearably to high. The fear of the darker side of oil drilling shouldn’t paralyze us and doom our country to futilely attempting to compete for overpriced fuel with the larger nations.


Ironvelvet 10 years, 10 months ago

This decision should not be made by the general public! I think to do so is a clear manipulative way to do the oil drilling anyway even though the government knows it would be wrong. They want to in the future be able to say that when things go wrong this is what the people said they wanted.

This should be decided by the experts. Environmentalists need to weigh in on this issue and science should predominate. Evidence based opinions need only apply.

Have we forgotten about the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico that spewed in the Gulf for months and months? I personally try not to think about it when I enjoy my favorite raw oysters in New Orleans. I tell myself, its just this one time. Have we taken for granted that the environment of the Bahamas is what feeds us literally and figuratively? Tourism would suffer an immediate death. That blue water you can see your feet in would cease to exist. The fish and conch that Bahamians and tourist live by would be dead or mutated.

When is our country going to look into alternative fuels on a serious level? When is our country going to look at solar power on a serious level? It is a furnace for the majority of the year. Its time for Bahamians to invest in science. Invest in research. Take the science seriously. Its time for Bahamians to be innovators not regurgitators of concepts fed to us.

And jobs? How many Bahamians do you know are qualified to work on an oil rig? Give me a break, the only jobs you are creating are foreign jobs. How much longer are we going to allow foreigners to exploit us?

Regulations?! What regulations? BP oil spill happened in America, what kind of regulations are they going to provide this little Bahamas that means nothing to them. Most things in the Bahamas run slack as it is. Ya'll need to think about the "Govment worka" song when ya'll think about the promise of "strict regulations"

If this comes to fruition I will come home and protest on Rawson Square with a vengeance! The wall street "occupy" will be a joke compared to what I will organize.


TalRussell 10 years, 10 months ago

Comrades you must must swallow hook-line-and sinker will say to minimize the risks. Why wouldn't they when so many potential in the hundreds of millions in profits are steering up through our crystal clear tourism waters. Comrades they will take their profits our of our tiny and much beloved Bahamaland and leave the natives to foot the bills to clean up the oil slicks they will leave behind. .Good God Comrades who exactly is this unknown foreign company we have turned our waters over to?


TalRussell 10 years, 10 months ago

Comrades this is no BTC brick and mortar sale. I need a lot of convincing to go along with PM Christie and Brave Davis's impartiality on drilling for oil in our waters.


Philosopher_King 10 years, 10 months ago

If you only paralyzed by fear to act on what potentially could go wrong then that is what will hold you prisoner to tourism a dying sector that is already maximizing it's potential for the next 30 years and will leave you with greater numbers of poor people in generations to come. Oil or natural gas is no panacea by no stretch of imagination, but a possible way forward until renewable alternatives are better developed to easy us of this crack we in the Bahamas can no longer afford. No other business sector is coming to our shores with the astronomical cost of electricity in the country, so all other talk of diversifying our economy is ludicrous my friends if we don’t at least explore a workable way forward.


spoitier 10 years, 10 months ago

It is something that should be done because they is no other sector that is going to sustain this country, besides the Bahamas is in shallow waters, unlike in the golf of Mexico.


Arob 10 years, 10 months ago

  1. Which comes first: the referendum or the up-to-date laws?
  2. If a commercial quantity of oil is found, what is the projected lag time for the Bahamian economy to feel the economic effects?
  3. What are the spin offs? If oil is refined in The Bahamas, is BORCO the only option?
  4. My fellow Bahamians, I am sorry that the oil revenues will not pay off your mortgages. But, on the bright side, the funds should reduce our dependency on foreign loans.

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