AG: Only two decades to consider oil production

ATTORNEY General Carl Bethel.

ATTORNEY General Carl Bethel.


Tribune Chief Reporter


THE prospect of oil production was thrust back into the spotlight by Attorney General Carl Bethel yesterday during his contribution to the mid-year budget debate, with him telling parliamentarians the country only had another two decades to consider development before the energy source was no longer profitable.

Mr Bethel teased the idea during his Senate contribution, underscoring the need for economic diversification because the country's second economic pillar, financial services, is under savage attack.


Bahamas Petroleum Company's licence gives it until the end of this month to spud its first exploratory well in waters south-west of Andros. In January, the company was still engaged in a joint venture partner search, and was thought to likely apply for another extension as they did under the Christie administration.

Mr Bethel yesterday suggested the matter could soon make its way to Cabinet.

"Where will we find future foreign currency earnings to make up for the losses being incurred in our second economic pillar?

"Can tourism alone bring in the kinds of foreign currency inflows needed in an economy which has to import the vast majority of its most basic needs, and to pay for such necessities in US dollars?

"Well, we know that we have to make a decision sometime in the near future on the Bahamas Petroleum Company and its proposal to drill for oil in the area just off the southernmost part of the Great Bahama Bank.

"The hard decision may have to be taken," he said.

"With the rapid development of renewable alternative energy sources, we may have no more than a 15-25 year window in which to profitably extract any such resources."

Mr Bethel underscored the potential foreign currency from oil production and sales could help to stabilise and strengthen the country's foreign exchange balances, with Sovereign Wealth Fund revenue from oil production bolstering stated goals like national health care, free tertiary education, and funding for social and business development.

However, he made clear his suggestions did not represent a Cabinet position or his own personal view.


Mr Bethel added: "These are hard decisions which will always provoke controversy and, from some, implacable animosity and opposition.

"Yet, governments are elected to make decisions and to follow them through."

In the upper chamber yesterday, the attorney general mused on the inevitable impact of mankind on its environment, telling the Senate efforts must be focused on striking the "correct balance" between the need for economic diversification and development, and the need for environmental safeguards.


TalRussell 6 years ago

Da Comrade AG Carl Wilshire, just quantified what a jackass deal Oban is. Has wonder how those supposedly credited possessing higher intelligence are so fuc#ing stupid?


Socrates 6 years ago

more than that, if we believe in global warming, greenhouse gases etc. and rising water threat to low lying island states like ours, how will we reconcile getting into the oil business with concern and calls for the big players to take concrete steps to address the issue of global warming? we would look like hypocrites, although one might argue we could use oil money to build sea walls all over the country...


Bahama7 6 years ago

If its only one oil well to be drilled, under modern safe regulations i really don't see what the problem will be. It could transform the economy and provide many jobs.


Sign in to comment