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Editorial: There’S Nothing In The Well After All

So much for the oil drilling.

After all the bluster, all the court hearings, all the protests… it turns out Bahamas Petroleum Company hasn’t found enough oil to make a commercial operation worthwhile.

“Drilling has now ceased, the well having reached a depth of approximately 3,900 meters without incident, and the well will now be permanently plugged and abandoned.”

The statement from BPC makes noises about the future, talking about “future monetisation of its business in The Bahamas, in particular with a view to renewal of a farm-in process” and “renewed farm-in discussions” but the reality is that this expedition has not found enough oil to make it worth extracting.

There will of course be celebrations by opponents of the whole drilling process to begin with – but there are two things we should note here.

First, any future discussions involving BPC and any talk of renewing licences and so on needs to be very carefully conducted. Every piece of paperwork needs to be checked, every required part of agreements upheld. Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis has spoken of his opposition to drilling in The Bahamas – so it will be interesting to see how encouraging he is of any such future discussions. It’s election season of course, so that applies equally to those who would challenge Dr Minnis for leadership of the nation.

Secondly, while the debate wrangled on over whether drilling should go ahead, the absence of substantial oil reserves is not a good thing.

Economically, the country is in a deep hole – and having a reserve of oil might have been a financial lifeline, if all hurdles could be cleared about extracting it safely. That lifeline has gone now – and regardless of concerns over this particular expedition, so have any chances of it boosting our nation in the future.

And while there has been much talk of the potential costs of any clear-up of oil should the worst ever happen, now is the time for a different clear-up – of the rules and regulations surrounding any talk of oil drilling in the future.

A number of politicians talked of taking the question of whether oil drilling should be allowed in the future to the people. It seems unlikely that will be a referendum, given how previous such votes have gone, but it absolutely should be a part of each election platform. How will each party stand on oil drilling should BPC or another entity have a proposal in future? Let’s have some clear answers.

It’s also time to assess what BPC has done. The executive director of BREEF has already highlighted “considerable damage to the seafloor”. Well, let’s inspect it. This was just a fraction of a full operation – so let’s see how much damage we’re talking about.

Not that we would expect swift action on that – we’re still waiting to hear about damage to the seabed near the Berry Islands allegedly caused by cruise ships sheltering in Bahamian waters. The government’s gone silent on that – will they surprise us with a swift and public assessment on this occasion?

This chapter is not quite closed, but the page is starting to turn. Let’s not just shut it and forget about it – let’s learn from it.

FNM candidate process

Does Carl Culmer think people can’t tell which way the wind is blowing?

The FNM chairman has denied party leader Dr Hubert Minnis is getting personally involved – right after Peter Turnquest told his constituents that he had “been advised by the party leader that I will not receive the nomination for East Grand Bahama”.

That sounds like personal involvement to us, Mr Culmer.

Mr Culmer went on to say that he “can’t say if Turnquest was premature in sending out the note to his constituency officers”.

So which is it, Mr Culmer? If Mr Turnquest was “premature”, doesn’t that mean the conversation did actually take place but he just wasn’t supposed to tell people about it yet?

Mr Culmer adds: “Whatever conversation went on between Turnquest and the leader, we don’t know about it I don’t know what was said. That never came to the executive or the vetting committee or the council.”

So in a few sentences, Mr Culmer’s gone from saying personal involvement didn’t happen to Mr Turnquest being premature in talking about it and now to Mr Culmer not knowing anything about it. Come on, Mr Culmer. Show some respect for the Bahamian people – after all, you’re going to be asking for their votes soon.

Comments

K4C 2 weeks, 6 days ago

Banking GONE

Tourism FAILING

the Bahamas has hit BOTTOM with mounting debt

There’s Nothing In The Well After All

Oil could have been a life line

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FrustratedBusinessman 2 weeks, 6 days ago

The FNM's reasoning in not nominating Turnquest is based off of the fact that they don't want the ongoing lawsuit being a drain on the upcoming campaign. The biggest thing that Minnis has going for him is that his competition is Davis, they don't need any more negatives to add onto the pile what already exist the eyes of the average Bahamian voter. Imo, it will be a lot more telling whether or not Sands gets a nomination.

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ColumbusPillow 2 weeks, 6 days ago

Its time to assess the environmental problem of oil drilling (sanctioned by the Petroleum Act of 2016). Biggest problem is there is nobody in the government who is qualified.to do that! Applications for drilling licenses are accepted by the Ministry of the Environment and Housing. The Ministry gives the license and accompanying Environmental Impact Assessment document for approval.by the Bahamas Environment Science and Technology Commission (BEST) But there is nobody in BEST who is qualified to review or "vet" an oil drilling EIA document.

The government must hire qualified staff to do this in compliance with the Petroleum Act and avoid the intense hysteria associated with the BPC drilling issue !

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ColumbusPillow 2 weeks, 6 days ago

Yes there is a big structure there but the principal geologic problem of the BPC well site; no salt in the underlying geologic section to seal the bedding cracks that have allowed oil to escape over the last 150 million years!.

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banker 2 weeks, 6 days ago

sigh.... I told you that there was no oil. And BPC knew it. It was a penny stock play all along, and they made millions. This is a typical story in the junior resource sector, but Bahamians are so naive when it comes to looking past the front facade, that they couldn't see it. The company made millions off flogging the penny stock, and they can now pack up their tent and rub cold hard cash on their "wounds" but they won't. In the playbook, they will merge with some other company, maybe acquire new leases, maybe a new name and flog more paper, fleecing folks again with their hopes.

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