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Oil explorer: Just 20% of opponents from the Bahamas

THE STENA Icemax.

THE STENA Icemax.

By NEIL HARTNELL

Tribune Business Editor

nhartnell@tribunemedia.net

The oil exploration battle further heated up last night after Bahamas Petroleum Company (BPC) sought to discredit an activist petition by asserting just 20 percent of signatories were local.

The explorer, which almost certainly faces a legal challenge to its bid to start exploratory drilling on December 15, said in a statement that research it commissioned by a "sophisticated data analysis" firm suggested that the Our Islands, Our Future coalition was using overseas signatories to skew the results of a petition that has attracted more than 50,000 backers.

BPC added that, in so doing, it was "trying to turn the view of Bahamians against this potentially transformational project" by giving the appearance that more of their countrymen are against exploratory drilling than there actually are.

Suggesting that the petition was being hosted by an online California-based business that specialises in these issues, BPC said: "Data collected on behalf of BPC by a company specialising in sophisticated data analysis indicates that the vast majority of these signatures are from persons not in The Bahamas, but rather are overseas parties with no obvious connection to The Bahamas...

"As of 30 November, 2020, data analysis shows that only 20 percent of the self-identified signatories were from inside The Bahamas, with the other 80 percent of such signatories based outside of The Bahamas. This directly contradicts the Our Islands, Our Future suggestion that the online petition represents the views of the Bahamian people.

"Indeed, rather than accurately reflect the view of Bahamians, it suggests more that Our Islands, Our Future is using a common global platform to recruit signatories from overseas so as to skew the results of the petition in support of their agenda in trying to turn the view of Bahamians against this potentially transformational project."

Reiterating its argument that the Government has "a legitimate sovereign right" to determine if commercial quantities of oil exist beneath the Bahamian seabed, BPC said: "BPC holds a valid authorisation from the Government to proceed with the exploration well and should not have an independently monitored process distorted by an external pressure campaign funded by already wealthy influencers from outside of The Bahamas.

"BPC strongly urges the public to find out more about the facts of the Perseverance One exploration well, the potential economic boost its success offers Bahamians, and the extensive environmental authorisation process completed with, and approved by, the Government of The Bahamas."

Fred Smith QC, the Our Islands, Our Future lead attorney, last night blasted back at BPC that, even if their 20 percent claim was true, this percentage still represented "thousands of Bahamians" who were opposed to the company's plans for waters 90 miles west of Andros.

Describing his response as "so what?", Mr Smith suggested that the lengths BPC had gone to in hiring a data analyst to discredit the coalition's position showed it was rattled by the threat of imminent legal action that will include an attempt to secure a Supreme Court injunction to halt all drilling activity.

"There are over seven million people that visited The Bahamas pre-COVID, so there will obviously be a strong international contribution to the petition," Mr Smith argued. "The Bahamas is an island location that millions of people come to every year, and they are interested in protecting the Bahamian environment so we can continue to have tourism as the mainstay of the economy."

Warning that any major oil spill or accident would "sound the death knell for The Bahamas as an absolutely beautiful location that people desire to come to," he added: "I am pleased to see that BOC are taking Our Islands, Our Future seriously because they should. We are a domestic and international coalition, and have a lot of support. BPC should, as they are doing, be taking us seriously because we are a serious crew."

The executive director of the Bahamas Reef Environment Education Foundation (BREEF), Casuarina McKinney-Lambert, last night said all signatories to the petition "need to be heard" with some 130 Bahamian and international groups now part of Our Islands, Our Future.

Comments

Proguing 1 year, 11 months ago

Looks like BPC is in total panic mode with the widespread opposition they are facing. Interesting to note that they are spending their money on a "sophisticated data analysis firm" and propaganda for their failing oil drilling project. If you are a shareholder, you should be very concerned at this point.

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Bahama7 1 year, 11 months ago

Wow... 20% is nothing. Very misleading indeed.

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Proguing 1 year, 11 months ago

Bahama7 get an honest paying job, before your employer goes bankrupt.

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tribanon 1 year, 11 months ago

They are bankrupt....BPC has always been nothing but a Ponzi scheme in need of freshly conned investor money to replace previous investor funds paid out to BPC's promoters/scammers and/or flushed down the toilet. As the saying goes, a fool and their money are easily parted.

Rumour has it the conn artists and scammers who have been promoting BPC have done so well for themselves that they are already thinking about forming a new company, MPC - Mars Petroleum Corporation - to raise funds from dumber than dumb investors who may be interested in seeking to obtain exclusive oil exploration rights for the planet Mars. lol

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banker 1 year, 11 months ago

Glory Hallelujah -- someone in the Bahamas understands the penny stock game. This was never about oil -- it was finding a vehicle to flog penny stocks.

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C2B 1 year, 11 months ago

This is not as far fetched as it sounds. There are energy sources beyond our atmosphere that could solve our pollution problems here. https://science.howstuffworks.com/env...">https://science.howstuffworks.com/env...

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Clevis 1 year, 11 months ago

90 miles west of Andros? Depending on where you measure from that can place it closer to the Florida keys that the Bahamas and in the gulf stream. Doesn't Florida and all points downstream of the gulf stream have something to say about this? I'll bet many of those non-Bahamian signatures are from Florida.

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ScubaSteve 1 year, 11 months ago

Who cares if only 20% of the signatures are from Bahamian citizens. The Bahamas are an international destination. The vast majority of the country's income comes from international visitors and their money. And if the majority of signatures are from outside the Bahamas (most likely from the US and/or Canada) and something very negative happens at the drill site (explosion, oil leak, pollution, etc), then these international folks by using their signatures on this petition are telling the Bahamas government -- they will go elsewhere for their beach vacations or fishing trips or boating trips or scuba trips. And poof... the money is gone! That is what the 80% of those signatures are telling us. And that is a very, very important point and it shouldn't be discarded or downplayed.

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ConchFretter 1 year, 11 months ago

"...the vast majority of these signatures are from persons not in The Bahamas, but rather are overseas parties with no obvious connection to The Bahamas...

What percentage of the Board and Senior Management of the "Bahamas" Petroleum Company are persons not from or in the Bahamas, but rather are overseas parties with no obvious connection to the Bahamas?

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Bahama7 1 year, 11 months ago

I have studied about someone called Mr Alan Burns.

Watch and observe.

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Porcupine 1 year, 11 months ago

Attention Bahamians. Don't waste too much time on these BPC children; banana 7 and Columbus pillow and the handful of other BPC minions. The most important fight is with our own goverment. These chumps here are merely paid distractions. We must force Minnis' hand. And soon.

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C2B 1 year, 11 months ago

I thought foreigners didn't matter?

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NellyBPC 1 year, 11 months ago

It would be nice if the Tribune could at least get a photo of the right ship. that's the Drillmax, not the Icemax. The name is literally on the side of the ship, in HUGE letters. But hey, why let facts get in the way of a good story?

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