NO MORE OIL: Environmentalists call for ban as oil explorer abandons disappointing test well

NO MORE OIL: Environmentalists call for ban as oil explorer abandons disappointing test well
Crew members of the Greenpeace flagship vessel Rainbow Warrior protest oil drilling in The Bahamas in November 2020. (FILE PHOTO)

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Environmentalists yesterday called for a full moratorium on oil drilling in this nation after Bahamas Petroleum Company (BPC) revealed that it has abandoned its exploratory drilling after having not found any commercial quantities.

Casuarina McKinney-Lambert, Bahamas Reef Environment Educational Foundation (BREEF) executive director, told Eyewitness News that the announcement was a “breath of fresh air” for this nation.

“Drilling has finished and they did not find commercial oil. This is a huge breath of fresh air for the future sustainability of our country,” said Lambert-McKinney.

“We need to push now for permanent protection from any oil drilling in the future.

BPC: “Perseverance #1 — a potentially transformational exploration well.” The well is 90 miles from Andros, and approximately 270 miles from Nassau.

“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 neighbors. 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.”

She added: “We now need a full moratorium on oil exploration in Bahamian waters. This will send the message to the world that we take [the] protection of our environment seriously, that we care about the current and future well-being of our people and that we are serious about building a climate-resilient future.”

Hopes of finding commercial quantities of oil in The Bahamas have been dashed with BPC announcing that it has abandoned its exploratory drilling after its well came up largely dry. BPC’s exploratory well Perseverance #1 has now been sealed.

The company’s stock took a nearly 70 percent hit as a result of the long-awaited announcement.

BPC had been working towards exploratory oil drilling in The Bahamas for several years, spanning successive administrations, and most recently faced off with local environmental groups over government approvals for the exploratory well it began drilling on December 20.

According to the company: “The Perseverance #1 well in The Bahamas has encountered hydrocarbons, successfully validated the structural model and the petroleum system and drilled a majority of the potential reservoirs of interest, thus fulfilling the core technical objectives of the well.

“Whilst the well encountered oil, indicated from LWD (logging while drilling) tools, gas chromatography and mud logs, commercial volumes of oil have not been proven at this well location.”

The BPC statement added: “Drilling has now ceased, the well having reached a depth of approximately 3,900 meters without incident, and the well will now be permanently plugged and abandoned.

“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 monetization of its business in The Bahamas, in particular with a view to the renewal of a farm-in process.”