Environmentalist slams “absolute lunacy” of oil exploration greenlight

Environmentalist slams “absolute lunacy” of oil exploration greenlight
The Stena Forth drill ship.

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — A well-known environmentalist said yesterday that it is “absolute lunacy” for the government to have given the go-ahead for exploratory oil drilling.

Sam Duncombe, reEarth’s president, said: “It is absolute and complete lunacy that the government is continuing to go ahead with this issue. This is absolutely ridiculous and honestly it puts the entire country at risk for something we have zero capability of dealing with. to deal with. We only have to look at Clifton and our inability to deal with that longstanding issue and now we are talking about drilling in one of our most pristine fishing grounds.”

Her comments came after Minister of Environment Romauld Ferreira advised during a press conference last week that all environmental clearances have been issued to Bahamas Petroleum Company for its exploratory oil drilling in the country.

Ferreira said the project is expected to start drilling in the first quarter of 2021. The company was initially granted the license for exploratory oil drilling in 2007 and subsequently got two renewals under the Christie administration. The company has four licenses in the territorial waters of The Bahamas.

“I have been opposing oil and gas since 1994,” Duncombe said.

“We will oppose every single oil or gas operation here. People think we are going to benefit from it but we will not. It’s a delusion to think it will all be ok. We will get paid for the use of the land and maybe a few dollars for oil if it is extracted. How is it that in 2020 we are still talking about fossil fuels. It needs to be forgotten. There is no place between Dorian and COVID to be drilling for oil.

“We already have enough problems,” she added.

As BPC moves forward with its plans to begin exploratory drilling, opposition from environmentalists has heightened.

An online petition launched two months ago by Our Islands Our Future to “Help save The Bahamas from oil drilling” had garnered 16,000 signatures up to yesterday.

BPC had come close to hitting its original April 2020 deadline to spud a first exploratory well but plans were thwarted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The company announced last week via its website that it has received formal notification from Stena Drilling, consistent with its existing contract, nominating the Stena IceMAX as the intended drill rig for the upcoming Perseverance #1 drilling campaign.

BPC noted that the notification has also indicated the start of the contracted window (which commences 15 December 2020) as the approximate time for the arrival of the drill ship in the field, with an associated anticipated well spud date some 3 – 4 days later, once the rig is on the station.

The date for anticipated spud of Perseverance #1 prior to Christmas 2020 and Perseverance #1 well is targeting recoverable oil resources of 0.77 billion barrels, with an upside of 1.44 billion barrels, the company has noted.