NASSAU, BAHAMAS- Environment Minister Romauld Ferriera said on Tuesday the government’s allowances regarding oil drilling in The Bahamas will move forward as planned.
Ferreira was asked for the government’s position on drilling in the wake of a recent oil spill at Equinor – formally known as Statoil – in East Grand Bahama.
Bahamas Petroleum Company (BPC) announced in February that it received formal notification from the government to work toward drilling an exploratory oil well before the end of 2020.
Speaking to reporters outside Cabinet, Ferriera said: “The administration had made a decision that we weren’t going to issue any new offshore license. The BPC situation was an ongoing concern.”
BPC was initially granted the license for exploratory oil drilling in 2007 and subsequently got two renewals under the Christie administration.
Attorney General Carl Bethel has said that the government was legally obligated to extend that license.
Ferreira said on Tuesday there is still ‘speculation’ as to whether there is commercial quantities of oil in The Bahamas.
“No one has drilled any test wells,” he noted.
“There is no sort of concrete determination that we have oil in the rocks, or in the substratum or below ground in The Bahamas. That is a debate for a national discussion. Ferreira continued: “I think all Bahamians are excited, some are concerned about the prospect of finding oil. The environmentalists are concerned and they have every right to be. They are not the only voice in the room. We will consider all opinions and we will make a decision should we find oil.”