By RASHAD ROLLE
Tribune Senior Reporter
BAHAMAS Petroleum Company announced yesterday that it did not find commercial volumes of oil after drilling a well off Andros.
News of the failure caused BPC’s stock to take a more than 60 percent hit yesterday knocking millions off the value of the company.
In a statement, the company said that some oil was encountered as indicated from “(logging while drilling) tools, gas chromatography and mud logs.”
“Drilling has now ceased, the well having reached a depth of approximately 3,900 metres without incident, and the well will now be permanently plugged and abandoned,” the company said.
“Over the coming weeks, BPC will undertake a detailed evaluation of all technical information gathered during drilling. In this context, BPC will review the appropriate way forward for future monetisation of its business in The Bahamas, in particular with a view to renewal of a farm-in process.”
The company said its operational activity in the near term will now focus on work in Trinidad and Tobago and Suriname.
Simon Potter, BPC’s CEO, said: “I am proud to say that after many years of diligent effort we did what we said we would do: BPC drilled the Perseverance #1 well safely and without incident, testing for the presence of hydrocarbons in the southern seas of The Bahamas. This was the very specific objective of the well – not a scientific or geologic experiment, but to seek hydrocarbons in commercial quantities.
“In a technical sense, the well successfully validated the existence of oil, seal and reservoir. Together, these factors verify the existence of a working lower cretaceous petroleum system and sequences of reservoir quality within the Aptian, pointing to the overall hydrocarbon potential of other untested prospects captured by BPC’s extensive acreage holding.
“However, at the Perseverance #1 location, the volumes of oil encountered are not commercial. “Perseverance #1 is the first exploration well in The Bahamas for decades, and the data gathered from this well will prove invaluable in providing a modern analysis as to the regional potential of the petroleum system, which, in our view, reduces technical risk for any future/further exploration in this new frontier province. The company will proceed to undertake a comprehensive evaluation of the data derived from the well, as we believe the results provide a sound technical basis for renewed farm-in discussions.”
BPC’s drilling began on December 20, 2020 and ended on Sunday, with the company completing its exercise within its projected 45-60 days window.
BPC’s project has faced opposition from environmentalists. Judicial Review proceedings are ongoing. Waterkeeper Bahamas Ltd and the Coalition to Save Clifton Bay are seeking to quash approvals the company received to begin drilling.
In a statement yesterday, Our Islands Our Future, an environmental group, said it greeted BPC’s announcement with a sigh of relief.
Casuarina McKinney-Lambert, the executive director of BREEF, said: “We need a full moratorium on oil exploration and extraction in Bahamian waters. The drilling that took place off the west coast of Andros for the past 48 days caused considerable damage to the seafloor and was a clear threat to our waters and our economy and that of our neighbours.
“It was a risk to the well-being of our ecosystems and our people who depend on healthy oceans for tourism and fisheries, and ultimately our way of life. This will send the message to the world that we take protection of our environment seriously, that we care about our people, and that we are serious about building a climate-resilient future.”
Our Islands Our Future said in its statement: “The recent announcement by BPC now leaves many Bahamians with more questions than answers as to whether BPC fulfilled its end of the ‘air-tight’ agreement with the Bahamian government by beginning to drill and even though the status of the licence fees was not satisfactorily answered.”