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'Not Reassured In Slightest' By Oil Drill Ship's Watchdog

By NEIL HARTNELL

Tribune Business Editor

nhartnell@tribunemedia.net

Environmental activists say they are "not reassured in the slightest" by the promised presence of the Government's watchdogs on Bahamas Petroleum Company's drilling ship.

Casuarina McKinney-Lambert, the Bahamas Reef Environment Educational Foundation (BREEF) executive director, told Tribune Business in messaged replies to this newspaper's questions that she was taking little comfort that representatives from Black & Veatch, the Government consultants who assessed BPC's environmental submissions, will be overseeing the 45-60 day drilling.

"It does not reassure us in the slightest that the Government will have environmental consultants on the drill ship," she said. "We are painfully aware that all offshore drilling pollutes and there is no such thing as safe oil exploration. When you drill, you spill."

BPC, in announcing that the Stena IceMAX drill ship is poised to leave the Canary Islands to head for The Bahamas aid of the December 15 drilling start date, said: "BPC has formally notified the Bahamian Department of Environmental Protection & Planning (DEPP) as to the precise well location, as well as the specific details and technical specifications in respect of the Stena IceMAX drill ship, and has obtained the DEPP's consent to same.

"BPC is currently working with the Government of The Bahamas' appointed third-party expert adviser, international environmental consultants Black & Veatch, on a number of technical items relating to the Perseverance One drilling programme.

"As agreed with the Government of The Bahamas, one or more Black & Veatch experts will be stationed onboard the Stena IceMAX during drilling operations, and will oversee the entire drilling programme, with a specific mandate to observe and report on specific tasks, activities and operations, including observing the baseline seafloor survey and testing of drilling fluids to ensure compliance with mandated safety requirements; oversight of environmental compliance activities during drilling activities and thereafter during decommissioning and abandonment activities; and monitoring drilling practices, procedures and activities to assure compliance with the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and Environmental Management Plan (EMP)."

Ms McKinney-Lambert, meanwhile, argued that the Our Islands, Our Future coalition, of which BREEF is a prominent member, had not left its threatened legal action to halt BPC's plans too late. "We do not feel that it is too late. Far from it," she asserted.

"We feel that there were certain fundamental flaws in the process, including a lack of proper consultation at various stages, which means that BPC's approvals need to be revisited. Its EIA (Environmental Impact Assessment) is deficient and also needs to be revisited. It is not us who are late; it is BPC which is moving prematurely to drill."

Rashema Ingraham, executive director of Waterkeeper Bahamas, another Our Islands, Our Future member, added: "We believe the process was fundamentally flawed. We do not think those approvals were granted correctly. Certainly they were granted in the absence of proper consultation."

Comments

Bahama7 1 week, 5 days ago

Yes, yes, nice.

Everything looks good to me.

Let’s open up the economy and flourish. One love.

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Voltaire 1 week, 5 days ago

Ahhh Isle of Man7, you woke up. Good! We missed you. There are a whole bunch of stories just waiting for that greasy BPC spin treatment. And letters to the editor, and articles in the Caribbean press. Things are heating up!! And this is just the beginning. I hope your shareholders are holding on tight.

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Bahama7 1 week, 5 days ago

Hello Voly,
I hope you are well. I have never been to the Isle of Man... it sounds a cold place. Give me a glass of rum in the Caribbean anytime.

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Voltaire 1 week, 4 days ago

Listen to how you sound! You just can't help it. Sounds a cold place does it? Glass of rum in the Caribbean... British through and through! You guys could at least bother to hire a local troll to defend this sinking ship. I swear - no respect! LOL

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JohnBrown1834 1 week, 4 days ago

There is nothing wrong with drilling one exploration well. Wells have been dug over the past 80 years and the fishes are still in the sea. Right next door Cuba has been doing it without a negative effect. It is just a look and see. After that, a cap will be placed on it. If nothing is there the story is over because BPC doesn't have the money to do anything else. If there is something there then let's go back to the table and start the consultation process again with even a referendum.

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Voltaire 1 week, 3 days ago

The Deepwater Horizon was an exploratory well. It spewed 200 million gallons of oil into the ocean and fouled 16,000 miles of coast. BPC is not an experienced drilling company. They are a startup, a shell company that has never drilled before. They are using a drill company responsible for several disasters over the past 5 years and a drill ship that almost busted an offshore wellhead open off the coast of Canada in 2016. This is a disaster waiting to happen, and when it does, BPC will be gone back their one-room office in the Isle of Man.

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Voltaire 1 week, 2 days ago

Another anti-BPC group is taking up the fight to save The Bahamas. Bahama7, are you going to insult and abuse these young Bahamians too? - https://vimeo.com/480873129">https://vimeo.com/480873129

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