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Editorial: What Do We Do About Oil?

IS oil the future or is oil the past?

It’s a question that is at the heart of our own future as a nation, with Bahamas Petroleum Company preparing to start exploratory drilling before the end of the year.

The rewards are tempting. On one hand is the prospect of a significant find, bringing with it substantial revenue to The Bahamas, with a figure of $5 billion suggested. Of course, until oil is found, there isn’t so much as $5 to be had.

On the other hand stand the concerns over our environment. We’ve already seen in the past year significant damage when Hurricane Dorian popped the tops off the containers at the Equinor oil facility in Grand Bahama, spilling 55,000 barrels of oil into the environment.

More, we have seen further afield full-scale disasters, such as the Deepwater Horizon oil spill that scarred the Gulf of Mexico.

We face the gambler’s dilemma. Stick with what we have or go all in and risk it all.

There have been reassurances from BPC, with the company this week stating that it had adequate insurance to cover clean-up costs should the worst happen.

There have also been questions and concerns from the environmental guardians of The Bahamas – such as the Bahamas National Trust, pointing to the short-term economic gains for the nation.

They also point out the hypocrisy of a nation that is threatened by climate change going ahead with the search for more fossil fuels, pointing out that our nation faces an “existential threat” from the prospect of rising seas amid climbing temperatures worldwide.

Just this week, there were reports that Antarctica could melt “irreversibly” due to climate change, and some reports say that melting ice from that continent could raise the sea level by 2.5 metres.

That would mean vast swathes of The Bahamas gone.

Against that, there has been the clarion call to diversify our economy away from tourism, a call that has gained more strength as we have seen COVID-19 stop flights, shut hotels and bring our economy to a grinding halt.

So do we risk it all? Or stick with what we’ve got. Whatever the next step is, we would hope that we listen to those guardians who have watched over our lands and seas these many years. If we are to do this, we must take every precaution – for if we are slack, and find black oil washing up on our shores, our tourism industry will suffer all over again.

Get well soon, Commissioner

Last month, prison Commissioner Charles Murphy was forthright – to say the least – in saying there were no reports of COVID-19 at the prison. More than that, he warned officers if they took their concerns public they could lose their jobs – and told The Tribune to stop asking questions.

It gives us no pleasure to report that Mr Murphy himself has now tested positive for COVID-19, a disease we would wish on no one.

We wish him a speedy recovery, and a safe return to work.

His case, we are told, is traced back to a contact outside the prison. He is not the first prison officer to have caught the virus, though we would fervently hope he is the last.

It serves as a reminder to us all of the danger of this virus, and the urgency to keep it out of an enclosed, crowded population such as the prison. It would be very easy for an officer or someone who has been outside the prison to unsuspectingly carry it into the population there – and it requires the utmost vigilance, including listening to the concerns of staff there, to keep it out.

Get well soon, Mr Murphy. And to his staff we say, stay vigilant.

Comments

Porcupine 3 weeks, 2 days ago

"The Gamblers Dilemma". Perhaps this says it all, dear Editor. I have little objection if you can afford to gamble, and find it entertaining to do so. However, when you choose to gamble your children's lunch money, rent and BPL payment, hoping to hit it big, we have a problem, which is not a rarity in this country, is it? Further, when you feel you have the right to gamble away the health of a country and my child's future, we have another matter at hand. This is what you are suggesting. And, what I am suggesting is that you have absolutely no right to do so, and it seems rather apparent that a simpleton's viewpoint such as this has no place in an editorial position in a leading newspaper. Unfortunately, you have exposed the limitations of your intellect and moral code. To a well read and up to date science reader, this is Russian Roulette with 5 bullets in the chamber of a six shooter. To many unfortunates now, and it seems you are one of them, you still think there is only one bullet in the chamber. This science is completely clear on this matter of fossil fuels. An intelligent person, and a forward thinking nation, MUST be in favor of making the transition away from fossil fuels now. The data is in, whether or not you have the time, resources, or intelligence to grasp it. Editor, with your short article here, questioning whether oil is good for The Bahamas, you have shown in no uncertain terms the limitations we are facing as a world. There is a severe disconnect between reality and our ability to see it, to grasp it.. I used to think it was just a matter of education. But, you probably had a "good" education yourself. I am absolutely convinced now that the powers that be have no interest in an educated populace. Therefore, there are no surprises as our IQ and academic quality drops year after year. All the while our Minister of Education, whoever they are, continue to spout off more and more nonsense, while test scores continue to drop, or we lower the bar to appease our faux-concerned. Editor, you end by saying, "So do we risk it all? Or stick with what we’ve got. Whatever the next step is, we would hope that we listen to those guardians who have watched over our lands and seas these many years. If we are to do this, we must take every precaution – for if we are slack, and find black oil washing up on our shores, our tourism industry will suffer all over again."

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DDK 3 weeks, 1 day ago

This editorial IS surprising and unsettling Porcupine. You can't help but wonder what the Editor of The Tribune would possibly hope to gain from such an atrocity, the editorial or the drilling, take your pick!

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Porcupine 3 weeks, 2 days ago

Our tourism industry? WTF? What about the rapid acceleration of sea level rise, what about our food sources, what about our health, what about a planet where much of it is too hot to live and work outdoors? We can't just listen to the guardians. We must become informed ourselves. Especially people in positions who write editorials. No dear Editor, this editorial position is a failure of knowledge, of morality, of responsible citizenship. The facts, coming in daily are that we, as a species, as movers in the web of life, have failed to consider our future. It seems as if we just don't give a shit. We are willing to gamble it away for a few dollars. Dollars that will become more elusive as the days go by, and those alive today will never see a penny of it. This editorial is unacceptable to anyone who thinks. The Bahamas has more than enough people who could guide your thinking on this matter. This is one of the worst editorials of the year and I would like to nominate it as such.

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ColumbusPillow 3 weeks, 2 days ago

How about a few FACTS, please. 1. Six deep oil tests have ALREADY been completed offshore in the Bahamas with NO ENVIRONMENTAL CONSEQENCE reported! .2. We are not threatened by climate change. The seas are NOT RISING (check tidal gauges) and there is a lot of evidence that we are entering a GLOBAL COOLING period. Ice accumulations have INCREASED over the North Pole and Greenland! We are however threatened with fake environmental news Who are these "environmental guardians of the Bahamas" and how did they get the right to fear-monger in the media. Solar and wind power alternatives to fossil fuels are not reliable or economic and are not environmentally satisfactory.

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Porcupine 3 weeks, 1 day ago

Facts: check out the two links, out of hundreds.

https://phys.org/news/2020-08-greenla...">https://phys.org/news/2020-08-greenla...

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/en...">https://www.nationalgeographic.com/en...

"The seas are not rising" Bullshit. Obviously do not live in a coastal city like Miami, or The Bahamas. The tides are higher and higher each year. It is now in the roads, where it has never has before. Stop the lies.

"Solar and wind power alternatives to fossil fuels are not reliable or economic and are not environmentally satisfactory." Only an idiot, or someone with an agenda says something so stupid. Efficiency has grown by multiple factors on all renewable energy sources. They are economically competitive as the simple numbers, dollars, show. Otherwise, companies wouldn't be moving towards renewables "...and are not environmentally satisfactory." Of course, Cloumbus Pillow, but oil is! Columbus Pillow, you are nothing but a paid shill for the oil company. Nobody who can write a sentence is this stupid. You are merely trying to create confusion, were there is none.

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JokeyJack 3 weeks, 1 day ago

"The rewards are tempting. On one hand is the prospect of a significant find, bringing with it substantial revenue to The Bahamas, with a figure of $5 billion suggested. Of course, until oil is found, there isn’t so much as $5 to be had."

So where will that $5 billion go? Will it go into the Consolidated Fund where Peter Turnquest says the VAT money went? If so, what good will it do us?

Also what is that figure based on? How is it derived? Is it so much per barrel? So much per month? No answers. No details.

The money needs to go to individual NIB accounts that people can draw off of just like they obtain the unemployment benefit (after the money goes in). You know when you go to check on it, and they say "It hasn't gone in yet" ???? Yeah, like that. When they pay - they can "put it in" and then we "can get it out". Individuals. Individual spending to spur the economy, instead of going into the disappearing wormhole that the VAT money goes into.

Notice that I did not mention the word "Switzerland" nowhere in the above commentary. I did not mention it.

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newcitizen 3 weeks, 1 day ago

There is no oil. We have had super corrupt governments since independence, you don't think someone else would have bribed our politicians to take that oil by now? This is a game by the oil exploration company to get investments in their penny stock. No development company has signed on as a partner (as is usually the case in exploration, a junior explorer acquires some rights and then partners with a development company to actually drill a well after they have shown that there is a good chance of finding something. Then that joint venture is sold off to a producer who actually drills production wells and starts to take oil out). BPC could not convince any development company to partner up because it is extremely unlikely that they will find anything based on their findings so far.

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JokeyJack 3 weeks, 1 day ago

Yeah, maybe there is no oil - just like there is no aragonite that is being taken from us by the tons every day with a payment of like $1 per ton. That whole story has quietly disappeared. After oil is found, this story will disappear too and the robber barons will simply add oil to the list of minerals and resources they are stealing from us daily.

Bahamians are willing breeding slaves producing children to grow up and replenish the slave stock. To whatever degree they choose not to replenish, Haitians and other slaves flock here from the south. As such, if a Bahamian tries to save money by cutting his budget, his salary simply gets cut due to falling wages which are due to oversupply of labour.

The robbers have it good. An near unlimited supply of precious materials and free (minimum wage) slaves. They are geniuses.

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proudloudandfnm 3 weeks, 1 day ago

No aragonite is being taken from us daily.

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Proguing 3 weeks, 1 day ago

The share chart of BPC is a good indication of what to expect with this company:

https://www.hl.co.uk/shares/shares-se...">https://www.hl.co.uk/shares/shares-se...

Go to the 10 years chart

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Newgate 3 weeks, 1 day ago

Saying oil shouldn't be dug up because of global warming is kind of strange to me. Oil in a barrel isn't much of a problem as far as greenhouse emissions are concerned in my opinion. The problem is when it's refined and put in your car, THAT is when you have issues and guess what? for all the talks about global warming in these comments, I'm fairly certain none of you will give up your car for the sake of the world. It's the burning of fuels that is causing problems. Every time you hop in your car and turn the key, hell every time you use any gas powered vehicle, even a bus, you are generating demand for the oil as such, not getting oil isn't going to do much because the demand won't go away. Everytime you buy another car, you generate demand. To say no drilling for oil on the grounds of global warming while using cars and any electric powered tech (including the phone/computer you're typing on now) shows an incredible level of hypocrisy. IT is simply virtue signaling. If you're really concerned about global warming, trash your car and start walking everywhere you need to go.

Now the possibility of accidents is something else entirely. Oil spilling in the sea is bad and can hinder tourism. Oil spills are actually fairly common tho they are minor for the most part. Every precoson must be made to limit these occurrences from happening and tools and equipment must be there in the event a spill or any kind happens (these include tiny ones like what may happen during the fueling of a ship or something.

I'm on the fence about this. Oil can bring many opportunities to the country. It can generate more jobs which will increase the quality of life of the general people and can fill the country's treasury, which can then be used to develop the country as a whole. HOWEVER can we really say that money will be used properly by the government? This country can benefit greatly from having it's education system overhauled but let's be real, the powers that be don't want a critical thinking intelligent populace granted that seems to be something almost all governments around the world try to keep their people from becoming.

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