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Andros lodge: Oil strike out removes ‘dark cloud’

THE STENA Icemax.

THE STENA Icemax.

• Blames BPC drilling for 30-40% booking slash

• But ‘light at end of tunnel’ after well turns dry

• ‘Bitter taste in mouth’ on consultation absence

By NEIL HARTNELL

Tribune Business Editor

nhartnell@tribunemedia.net

An Andros bonefishing lodge’s co-owner yesterday said “a large dark cloud” that helped slash bookings by 30-40 percent has been removed with the failure to discover commercial oil quantities.

Shawn Leadon, joint proprietor of Andros Island Bonefish Club, and head of Andros Outdoor Adventures, told Tribune Business that he could now see “light at the end of the tunnel” after Bahamas Petroleum Company (BPC) announced it was abandoning and sealing its Perseverance One well.

Disclosing that just the threat of oil contamination had dissuaded his high-end eco-tourism clients from visiting, Mr Leadon urged that Androsians and Bahamians generally be consulted on any future exploratory oil wells proposed by BPC or other outfits.

He told this newspaper that the Minnis administration had “left a bad taste in my mouth” by seemingly failing to consult with himself and other Andros businesses/residents, especially since they stood to be the most impacted by drilling activity taking place just 90 miles off the island’s west coast.

“That’s awesome, that’s awesome,” Mr Leadon responded when informed that BPC was capping its well after failing to strike commercial oil quantities. “That’s a plus for us and I hope they cap it properly. That created a bad look for our business, and if they had discovered oil it probably would only have benefited a select few.

“What drives our economy is these small businesses that are keeping communities alive. Our clientele will be saying they’re back on board; the threat is not real any more. That darkness, that cloud has been removed and that’s a good thing. It’s a breath of fresh air.

“Every time you talk to someone in eco-tourism, and you have that [oil] threat on the back end, that’s a serious threat to our environment and business. That’s done, and now there’s light at the end of the tunnel.”

BPC left open the possibility that it may seek to drill more exploratory oil wells in The Bahamas once it has completed its full analysis of the Perseverance One results, as well as continuing discussions to find a joint venture or farm-in partner. In the short-term, though, its attention is switching to its other assets in Trinidad & Tobago, Suriname and Uruguay.

Should oil exploration resurface, Mr Leadon urged the government to “embrace stakeholders” and let all interested parties be heard on the potential impacts and whether such activities should be permitted to proceed.

“We lost out on revenue because of that,” he told Tribune Business of BPC’s well. “We need to be part of the discussion. We lost almost 30-40 percent of our business as a result of that, and then the pandemic. It’s crazy. We lost bookings and clients.

“This type of business is a very sensitive business, and you’re dealing with clients who are very attuned to the environment. They don’t want to be in a place where you may create some sort of damage to it. They travel all over the world to see that kind of environment, but when they hear about this kind of threat, it speaks to your governance and throws everything off course.

“Tourism is our number one industry. I’m a stakeholder in Andros and it has affected me. We were never brought into the discussion, and that has left a bad taste in my mouth with this administration. The should have spoken to Androsians and Bahamians at large. It affected Androsians more than anybody else. Thank goodness we can see light at the end of the day. It was a hefty dark cloud.”

BPC, in a long release that portrayed the situation as the equivalent of a “glass half full”, said drilling to a depth of 3,900 metres had detected the presence of hydrocarbons but not enough to make it commercially viable at that site.

It added, though, that the Perseverance One well’s findings had made the “technical” case that commercial oil reserves may be located in areas covered by some of its four other licences and it was not giving up on The Bahamas just yet.

While the data collected from its exploratory drilling has yet to be reviewed and presented to the Bahamian government, as required by its licence terms, BPC indicated that there was sufficient justification to consider drilling further exploratory wells in addition to continuing the search for a joint venture partner.

“The company considers the results from Perseverance One, notably the confirmation of migrated oil within the Aptian reservoirs, will significantly reduce technical risk for any future/further exploration in this new frontier province,” BPC’s statement said.

“In particular, BPC considers that the results from Perseverance One may provide a strong technical basis for renewed farm-in discussions, with a view to future drilling at other target locations within BPC’s licence areas.” This leaves open the possibility that BPC may resume exploration in other Bahamian licence fields.

Simon Potter, BPC’s chief executive, said the Perseverance One well results suggested that the potential for commercial oil discoveries now lie in its other presently-untapped Bahamian licence fields. “In a technical sense, the well successfully validated the existence of oil, seal and reservoir,” he said.

“Together, these factors verify the existence of a working Lower Cretaceous petroleum system and sequences of reservoir quality..., pointing to the overall hydrocarbon potential of other untested prospects captured by BPC’s extensive acreage holding. However, at the Perseverance One location the volumes of oil encountered are not commercial.

“Perseverance One 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.”

Comments

Future 1 year, 9 months ago

All of the old people have always known that there was no oil. The oil that floated up all those years ago was because we dumped the old cars in the ocean but did not think to remove the fluids prior to dumping them

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ted4bz 1 year, 9 months ago

There is oil, but no commercial quantity.

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