Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Drilling Begins . . . But Bethel Says Govt Will Negotiate A Bigger Share If Oil Is Found

The Stena IceMAX

Tribune Chief Reporter

ATTORNEY General Carl Bethel assured Bahamians that the government intends to renegotiate the scale of royalty fees if commercial quantities of oil are found in the country.

His statement came the same day Bahamas Petroleum Company announced it had begun drilling its exploratory well in Bahamian waters.

Mr Bethel accused the Christie administration of “gross negligence” by “short-changing” the Bahamian people out of higher royalties from the deal it left in place before being voted out of office.

“I wish to assure the Bahamian people on behalf of the government of the Bahamas that, should commercial quantities of oil be found, and should permission to extract the same be given, the government will certainly renegotiate the scale of royalty fees which will be paid, both to the Consolidated Fund, but also to the Sovereign Wealth Fund, for the immediate benefit of every Bahamian,” Mr Bethel told the Senate yesterday.

He sought to address what he described as “certain erroneous statements” made by PLP Leader Philip “Brave” Davis recently in the House of Assembly that the Free National Movement government had issued the original lease and approvals for such exploration, and that the Progressive Liberal Party government had subsequently “improved” the terms of the approvals.

BPC, meanwhile, announced yesterday morning it had started drilling of the exploratory well, Perseverance #1. The company said the well was “spud” on December 20 at 6.30 EST. The well is anticipated to take 45 - 60 days to complete.  Read more >>